Sabah minister calls Tok Mat's new Malaysia Agreement 'short-sighted', 'misguided'

·2-min read
Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KOTA KINABALU, July 6 — Sabah and Sarawak Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Maximus Ongkili today panned Umno deputy president’s proposal for a “new” Malaysia Agreement to replace the 1963 deal as “short-sighted” and “misguided’.

The Parti Bersatu Sabah president disagreed with Umno’s Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan, who mooted the new deal, saying MA63 — the charter that saw the nation’s birth — is sacred.

“Which means – no MA63, no Malaysia. Further, with the constitutional amendment unanimously passed by Parliament in December 2021, MA63 is now part of the Federal Constitution.

“The proposal for a new Malaysia Agreement, as suggested by Tok Mat, and supported by Sabah deputy chief minister Datuk Seri Dr Jeffrey Kitingan is simply short-sighted, misguided and would not strengthen Malaysia,” Ongkili said in a statement.

He also said it is unthinkable for any loyal Malaysian to abandon MA63 in favour of a new deal.

“Will the new agreement strengthen the foundation document of MA63, or abandon it? Based on limited exposition by proposers of the new agreement, the misguided thinking is to desert MA63 in place of a new one.”

“It is tantamount to breaking the bonds that bind and unite the Malaya Federation, North Borneo, and Sarawak in 1963. Thereby, returning us to our original status and restarting a new search again for our respective state identity,” Ongkili said.

He said that parties should be more careful in the process of nation building and thoughtless suggestions” would weaken the effort and progress made this far.

“We must build for strength, peace, and solidarity. We must avoid playing with semantics and politics,” Ongkili warned.

He is not the only politician from a ruling party to rebuff Mohamad’s idea.

Sarawak Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Art Minister Datuk Seri Abdul Karim Rahmah Hamzah recently described Mohamad’s prsposal as a “crazy idea" that should not change in any way as it was fundamental to Malaysia’s founding.

Mohamad floated his idea at the Sabah BN convention last Saturday, saying it was a more concrete way forward towards realising the state's rights and demands enshrined under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).

“We must have a way out of this issue. It has been going on for so long and the people of Sabah want a concrete way forward. At this current level of negotiation, I don’t think it leads to the expected understanding and agreement.

“Maybe we need a new agreement. In my opinion, the spirit and aspiration of MA63 are in a very different context. Times have changed. Malaysia is also a lot different now,” Mohamad or Tok Mat as he is known, was reported as saying.

After the backlash, Mohamad said he was only making a suggestion as he was an elected lawmaker.

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