KOTA KINABALU, April 7 — Sabah and Sarawak are inching closer its long-awaited pay day from the Federal Government with talks of the Special Council on the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MKMA63) under way.
In giving his assurance, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili said both the Sabah and Sarawak State Governments have agreed to the formation of the Joint Consultative Review Committee and talks are now ongoing to get their demands heard.
“It will focus on reviewing the special grants, including the 40 per cent reimbursable provision for Sabah, as stipulated under Article 112(d) of the Federal Constitution,” said Ongkili.
“I had several meetings with the Minister of Finance Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz on the matter and we have agreed on terms of references, including the list of members,” he said.
Finance Minister II Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun will be heading the entourage from Sabah, which also includes Sabah State Secretary Datuk Seri Safar Untong, Sabah Attorney-General Datuk Nor Asiah Mohd Yusof, and Finance Ministry Permanent Secretary Rusdin Riman as members.
The Sarawak Team will be headed by its Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hassan, and Sarawak Attorney-General Datuk Talat Mahmood Abdul Rashid, and Sarawak Finance Secretary Datuk Amar Ahmad Tarmizi Sulaiman as members.
Finance Ministry will be headed by Tengku Zafrul, which would also include several top officials from his office.
According to Ongkili, the Committee will be tasked to review the legal provisions with regards to financial matters stipulated under the Federal Constitution and the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63); as well as to scrutinise the calculations and payments of the annual grant, and other grants, as enshrined under the MA63, including the previous payouts.
“The Committee is also entrusted to come up with resolutions to the annual grant payment demanded by both Sabah and Sarawak, as set under the Special Council on the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MKMA63),” he explained.
Apart from that, the Committee is also tasked to establish a balanced, fair, and justified formula of the payment that would be in line with the country’s financial resources and status.
The Committee is expected to meet immediately after the MKMA63 meeting on April 13, which will be chaired by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
Ongkili will be chairing the Joint Consultative Review Committee meeting on behalf of the MKMA63, and submit resolutions for decision to the Council.
Sabah and Sarawak have long claimed the backdated provisions which has been stopped since the 1970s, and are also asking for an increase in oil royalty as well as other privileges accorded to them which have eroded over the years.
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