Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Pakatan Harapan vows to review MA63 if in power

Dr Mahathir speaking at the rally
KUCHING: Pakatan Harapan (PH) vows to review the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) and re-negotiate with Sarawak and Sabah a deal that is fair to all the parties if the coalition comes into power after the 14th General Election.

Its chairman and former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said discussions would be held to find a way to return the rights that belong to Sarawak and Sabah under the MA63.

“There are many things that we can do by revising the original agreement (MA63) between Sabah, Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia. These we will be discussed to find a way to give (back) what belongs to Sarawak and Sabah.

“Pakatan Harapan promises that we will negotiate once again on the 20-point (for Sabah) and 16-point (18-point) for Sarawak,” said the elder statesman who was seen wearing a ‘Make Malaysia Great Again’ cap during Pakatan Harapan’s ‘New Deal, New Hope’ rally at BDC here on Sunday.
Dr Mahathir, who was on his first trip to the state as an opposition leader, therefore urged Sarawak and Sabah voters throw their full support behind PH to enable the coalition to win a two-third majority in the Parliament.

“In the next election, you must give full support to PH because if we don’t get a two-third majority, we cannot change the Federal Constitution. We need to change some of the provisions of the Malaysian Constitution so that we can be fair to all the regions of Sabah, Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia.”

Dr Mahathir, who was the Prime Minister for 22 years, said before a law or policy is introduced in the Parliament, a consultation should be held between the three regions; Peninsular Malaysia, Sarawak and Sabah to get their consent.

“By right, negotiation must be held among the three regions, but when we formed Malaysia, there is no longer any negotiation between Sabah, Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia. What happened was we used the Parliament to pass various laws and policies.

“(This resulted in) The three regions are no longer in power but the one that is in power is the Parliament. In Parliament, surely, the number of representatives from Sabah and Sarawak are lesser than Peninsular Malaysia.”

Citing Petroleum Development Act that was passed in 1974 as an example, Dr Mahathir said during that time, there was no discussion between Sarawak, Sabah and Peninsular Malaysia.
“The one we had was Parliamentary meeting (sitting) which approved the agreement without taking into account the feelings of the people in Sabah and Sarawak.

“The reason is because in Parliament, the Peninsular Malaysian states have more representatives than Sabah and Sarawak. Therefore, every law introduced by the federal government is approved in the Parliament.

“That’s why we found out that there was no negotiation regarding 20-point agreement for Sabah and 16-point (18-point) agreement for Sarawak. If there was any negotiation, surely the agreement made between the three regions will be fair.

“But the negotiation was not held, only Parliamentary meeting where the opinions of the people in Peninsular Malaysia had exceeded the opinions of the people of Sabah and Sarawak.”

Dr Mahathir, who is also Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia chairman, noted that when the Petroleum Development Act was introduced, Tun Abdul Razak was the Prime Minister; therefore the allegation that he changed the law was not true.

“From there, we have a law regarding the Territorial Sea Act. We know that some 12 nautical miles from the coastline is owned by the state. But when we made this law, we found that this is owned by Malaysia as a country. There was no consideration for Sabah, Sarawak and Terengganu.

“This resulted in many who are not happy with such an agreement. Again, the law did not take into consideration the three regions that formed Malaysia. That was why the share for Sabah and Sarawak is only five per cent.”

He also noted that when the Territorial Sea Act was approved in 2012, the Prime Minister was Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

“I was the Prime Minister for 22 years, but I did not change the agreement with Sabah and Sarawak. I am of the opinion that these agreements and laws must be re-negotiated between Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak so that it will be fair.”

Dr Mahathir acknowledged that the people were also not happy with the current education system.

“In our agreement, the education system for Sabah and Sarawak is different from the one in Peninsular Malaysia. So we will negotiate to give back the rights to have their own education system in Sabah and Sarawak.”

When asked by a member of the crowd on whether PH government would abolish Goods and Services Tax (GST), Dr Mahathir responded in the affirmative.

“I just want to point out, when I was Prime Minister, the price of oil was only US$30 per barrel and companies did not make more than RM200 million profit. But nowadays, although the price of oil had came down from US$120 to US$50, it is still more than the US$30 that was paid for one barrel of crude oil.

“So with that amount of money from oil revenue and with the tax on the income of people, he (Najib) should have more money than we had during my time. During my time, the country was very poor but we managed to build many airports, even Kuching International Airport and Kota Kinabalu Airport were built. We also built new ports everywhere and we built the North-South highway. Did we ask you for GST? No.”

With the weak financial position of the federal government, Dr Mahathir wondered how Najib could build the Pan Borneo Highway considering that the project would cost a lot of money.

“When he came here, he promised to build (Pan Borneo Highway) and he said the state must pay. When Sarawak protested, then they (federal government) will pay but they have no money. So all of you are to see a lot of construction going on to build Pan Borneo for years and years because you have to pay your contractors but he has no money to pay.”

Dr Mahathir said: “What is important is to build a new future. The present government has got no idea on how to change for the betterment of people of Malaysia. Only we (PH) can because we can see the mistakes from outside. Already, people are suffering because the culture of corruption has spread throughout the country.”

He thus called on all Sarawakians and Sabahans to ‘throw out’ Najib in the 14th General Election and have a PH government in place to serve them.

~ Borneo Post

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