KOTA KINABALU : Sabah STAR President Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan has been reminded to refrain from stirring sentiments for his political mileage.
Referring to the Deputy Chief Minister’s recent call of drafting a new agreement to resolve Sabah and Sarawak status in Malaysia, Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili said to do so, there are many things to be considered, which is beyond the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) itself.
The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Sabah and Sarawak Affairs) explained that before abandoning MA63, one needs to know its defects, find out the wrongful parties, and implications for taking action against the signatories of the agreement.
“We need to thoroughly study the weaknesses of MA63. If there are defects, we need to find out what and who did wrong. This is a delicate matter which needs better understanding. We must be very careful in reading these situations.
“So do not talk about drafting a new agreement when you have not even done the necessary studies. Don’t stir sentiments just for politics.” Ongkili noted.
He said such call should not arise at this time, adding: “It is like marriage. You must first find out what is wrong with your spouse, what he or she did wrong, and if you have all the evidence, then you can file for divorce. It is the same in this situation. Find out the wrongs in MA63, and if the government fails to address any shortcomings, then maybe we can abandon the old agreement and draft a new one.”
But, Ongkili noted that it was also important to know what are the implications of abandoning MA63.
“The present government is doing what was never done before – addressing the shortcomings. We are already managing these defects, correcting matters which have been identified by the working committees under the Special Council on MA63 (MKMA63), and the people of Sabah and Sarawak.
“We must understand that the MA63 is part of the Malaysia Act which was tabled in the Parliament, as well as the Sabah and Sarawak state legislative assemblies. If we want to establish a new agreement, it needs to be tabled in Parliament and both assemblies for approval. It is a long process.”
Ongkili stressed that rather than making unnecessary suggestions, Jeffrey should concentrate on the on-going efforts, and if it fails, then let the people be the judge.
“Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin is very accommodating, and has been very open, providing us enormous space to work on, especially in addressing the MA63 issues.
“Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor is also very sincere in spearheading to restore our rights. Jeffrey should give opportunities for these initiates to succeed rather than abandoning the efforts in search of an indefinite, uncertain, and lost world,” said Ongkili.