PAKATAN Harapan (PH) today defended its “new deal” election manifesto, saying its six-point offer to Sabah and Sarawak were definitely better than provisions enshrined in the Federal Constitution.

Sabah PH chairman Christina Liew said Sabah deserved better than what was envisaged under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), and all her requests can be obtained without denying the sanctity of the agreement.

“While we are aware that we must defend all Sabah’s special rights and safeguards under the MA63 and the Intergovernmental Committee Report, we also believe that MA63 should be regarded only as a bottom line and not a final goal,” she said in a statement late today.

Liew said this in response Sabah Deputy Chief Minister Raymond Tan’s condemnation of the PH new deal as an attempt to deny the special rights of Sabah and Sarawak as it proposed “fair terms to all the three territories that agreed to form Malaysia – Sabah, Sarawak and Malaya” laid out by PH chairman Dr Mahathir Mohamad in Sarawak on September 24.

She said Tan’s statement distorted the “New Deal” manifesto to make it look as if PH was trying to remove the special rights of the east Malaysian states through “fair renegotiations.”

But Liew said his actions was what is expected of from any Barisan Nasional leader whose blind loyalty already made “Sabah a beggar in the federation (of Malaysia)” as it is today.

“A true concerned and committed Sabahan leader should fight for institutional reform, such as fiscal decentralisation, instead of apple-polishing a particular political leader who is trying to be a nice guy to Sabah,” she said.

Under the new deal, Liew said Sabah PH will be seeking more than just autonomy, but also the “important” powers held by the federal like communications, transport, education, medicine and health, labour and social security, tourism  and more.

“Sabah should play a greater role in shaping her own future, as well as national policies. For example, our manifesto in limiting the chief minister’s tenure is important to prevent ‘absolute power corrupts absolutely’.

“The 20% oil royalty and 50% revenue sharing under the new deal were better deals than what was enshrined in the constitution,” she said.