Yong: Seven MA63 issues are merely cosmetic

Kota Kinabalu, Tuesday, August 20, 2019

The so-called resolution of seven MA63 issues is nothing but a great disappointment to the people of Sabah because the seven issues listed are merely cosmetic. The seven issues have nothing to do with the 40% net tax revenues that Sabah is entitled to. There is no mention of the 20% oil royalties promised to Sabah. Education was completely missed out, not to mention “equal status”. There was no transfer of any revenues or powers to Sabah.

In fact, the export duties on log exports and forest products are already under Sabah state jurisdiction ever since the 1963 Malaysia constitution. This is clearly stated in the federal constitution (State list in the 9th Schedule of the constitution).  As reported, this was reaffirmed on 1 June 2017. Similarly, agriculture and forestry matters have always been state matters.

As for the proposed handing over of regulatory powers over gas distribution, there is no need for any due diligence. Due diligence should only be conducted on Sabah Electricity Sdn. Bhd. (SESB) before handing SESB back to the Sabah government, not on regulatory powers.

As for manpower, Sabah is already governed by the Sabah Labour Ordinance. That is why Malaysia has a different foreign workers policy for Peninsula Malaysia and for Sabah and Sarawak.

On health and federal projects, there is no transfer or delegation of powers to Sabah. Instead, committees are formed that only duplicate existing lines of communications between the Sabah and the federal administrative departments.

Finally, the so-called return of Sipadan and Ligitan islands to the Sabah government is hollow. This is because the two islands have always belonged to and managed by Sabah. It was only because of the Indonesian claim on the two islands that some form of federal security arrangements were rightly put in place by the federal government. The International Court of Justice (World Court) had on 17 December 2002 awarded the two islands to Malaysia. After that (2002), the return of the two islands to Sabah is a foregone, consequential event. In fact, if there is an island to be returned to Sabah, then it is Labuan.

I urge the Sabah government and our ministers in the federal government to be brave enough take up the issues of revenues, Sabah autonomy and Sabah rights under MA63 without any further delay.  

 

Datuk Yong Teck Lee
President, SAPP