SARAWAK Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg rubbished Parliament Speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia’s view of Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) as “not important”.
This comes after DAP questioned the chief minister and the Sarawak government’s decision to talk to Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to resolve outstanding issues related to MA63.
DAP said Zahid at the launch of Pandikar’s book “Berpisah Tiada” on Monday, had endorsed and supported Pandikar’s “skewed” interpretation of MA63.
Zahid was quoted as saying “unlike numerous studies conducted by previous analysts on the rights of Sabah and Sarawak which had elements of bias and prejudice, Berpisah Tiada (No Break-up), served to correct the negative perceptions”.
DAP said Pandikar in the book dismissed claims Sabah, Sarawak and the 11 states in the peninsular were meant to be equal territories when the federation was formed.
He also stated the rights of the states were never eroded, even with the constitutional amendments in 1976 to downgrade Sabah and Sarawak to the 12th and 13th states – views that go against what most Sabahans and Sarawakians think.
Pandikar had also aroused the ire of Sabah and Sarawak rights advocates when he denied Sabah’s rights were not fully executed under MA63 in Kota Kinabalu two weeks ago.
He had also said relevant constitutional documents in relation to the history of Malaysia’s formation, such as the 20-Point Memorandum and the Cobbold Commission Report, “are not valid”.
“These documents contained recommendations (in forming Malaysia) and negotiations following various meetings at that time. They are not legally binding agreements,” Pandikar was quoted as saying.
“I beg to differ,” Abang Johari said. “You cannot describe the MA63 as unimportant.
“MA63 is an important document (as it spelt out) the territorial rights of Sabah, Sarawak and the (Federated Malay States in the) peninsula.”
DAP said Zahid’s endorsement of Pandikar’s “skewed” interpretation of MA63 speaks volumes of Barisan Nasional’s intention.
“It puts in question the intention of the Sarawak government to negotiate with the deputy prime minister and Putrajaya who clearly do not have the intention to recognise our rightful status as well as acknowledge the rights that were stolen from us by the federal government,” DAP added.
The opposition party said Putrajaya has the powers to rectify it if they had wanted to.
“All the promises by Prime Minister Najib Razak and the Barisan Nasional government on recognising our rights and intending to give back what is ours is rhetoric and election talk and has no legal binding authority.”