KUCHING, Jan 19 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim tonight said he has given his assurance to Sarawak Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Openg that he will do his utmost to resolve issues relating to the implementation of Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).
He said he had discussed with his Cabinet in Putrajaya, which has agreed and given its support to resolving MA63 issues once and for all.
“This is not a political statement. This is a statement of conviction that we have been given the task and trust. We will honour that trust and we will do it together to resolve these issues.
“Hopefully, with the cooperation of all and a clear direction, most of the issues will be resolved, except for a few cases that need further discussion,” he said at the state banquet hosted in his honour at the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching.
Anwar said he is aware that past prime ministers, together with the Sarawak premier, had made some progress, including in amending the Federal Constitution.
The prime minister said he had already announced that federal-funded projects costing up to RM50 million be handled directly by the Public Works Departments of Sarawak and Sabah, without having to go through the federal approving agency.
“However, there are other matters that I will announce tomorrow after the MA63 meeting. I don’t want to announce these tonight without the agreement of the premier as well as the Chief Minister of Sabah Datuk Seri Panglima Hajiji Noor.
“These are related to the issues that have not been finalised or have been finalised earlier or have been forwarded to the MA63 committee, headed by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof,” he said.
Anwar said efforts to fulfill promises in MA63 are not merely political theatre to gain the support of Sarawak and Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS), but to shoulder the responsibility entrusted to him.
Anwar said he is aware that Abang Johari is a tough negotiator and for that he respects the Sarawakian leader “because I have known him since the 1980s who is exceptional in defending the rights of Sarawak.”
“I must understand that he has the mandate from the people, he can lead and his love for Sarawak is thicker,” the prime minister said.
Anwar arrived in Kuching this afternoon for his first official visit to Sarawak since assuming the post following the 15th general election last year, and will chair the high-level Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) implementation action committee meeting at the state legislative assembly complex in Petra Jaya tomorrow morning.