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Hold special assembly session to discuss matters related to Malaysia Agreement – Ewon

12 Oct 2021

By Wartawan Nabalu News

KOTA KINABALU: Kadamaian State Assemblyman Datuk Ewon Benedick has called for a special state assembly sitting to discuss matters related to the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).

He said the special session should be held so that all assemblymen can participate in the debate and then jointly make relevant decisions.

“The implementation of the Malaysia Agreement should have been reviewed every ten years starting in 1973, but it was not implemented. The people of Sabah have the right to know why it is not being implemented. Is it intentional? And did Sabah let it go just like that?

“This special session can discuss, among others, federal acts made during the implementation of 1969 Emergency Proclamation, such as the Petroleum Development Act 1974, which has caused Sabah's largest resource to be taken by the Federal Government through Petronas.

“After the proclamation of emergency was revoked in 2011, I think the validity of the Petroleum Development Act and other acts related to the interests of Sabah made during the proclamation of emergency period should be re-debated.

“This special session also allows for a regularity to reject the Territorial Sea Act 2012 and assert the border rights of Sabah based on the North Borneo (Boundary Change) Order 1954.

“This special session also allows for a regularity to urge the amendment of Article 1 (2) of the Federal Constitution to be made again in Parliament to restore the original provisions of the Constitution related to the territorial status of Sabah, Sarawak and the Peninsula (Malaya).

“In today's assembly composition, Lamag Assemblyman Datuk Bung Moktar who is also the Deputy Chief Minister was known to not support when the amendment was tabled in Parliament in 2019. Therefore, this special session can give him a second chance to correct his record," he stated in a statement today.

Ewon said this when asked to comment on a media report stating the recommendation of Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Jeffrey Kitingan who suggested that the amendment to Article 1 (2) of the Federal Constitution be made again.

“The proposal is not something new. The amendment was tabled in Parliament in 2019 but did not get the support of two-thirds because GPS, PAS and UMNO MPs such as Datuk Bung Moktar did not vote in support of the amendment. This is what happened when the interests of the party exceeded the interests of the people at that time,” he said.

Ewon who is also the Vice President of the United Progressive Kinabalu Organisation (UPKO) stated that the State Legislative Assembly is the best platform to resolve issues related to the implementation of the Malaysia Agreement as it is a place to determine matters related to legislation, not administration as implemented by the previous state government and continued by the present-day state government.

“Various government-to-government councils and committees have been established but the people continue to question the status of the progress of the discussions until now. Why don’t we use the state legislative platform to speed up the implementation process of the Malaysia Agreement and the Federal Constitution?

“All this while, Sabah leaders have been urging the Federal Government to give back the revenue under Article 112 C & D of the Federal Constitution. For me, the best insistence we can make is to make a regularity in the assembly sitting and then make our own enactment to recollect 40 per cent of the federal revenue from Sabah.

“When it becomes a State Government law, then the Federal Government must abide by it. After all, this provision is already in the Constitution and we only need to strengthen it in the form of gazetting the enactment and the rules of revenue collection. We do not want to be seen to just merely speak out but not make legal decisions,” Ewon asserted.

He also mentioned that the special assembly session can also discuss matters related to governance decentralisation, such as in the field of health.

“I am of the view that the State Government needs to strengthen its jurisdiction over any matter under the Joint List of the State Government and the Federal Government such as the field of health either by strengthening the existing ordinance or making a new enactment.

“If we really want to implement the Malaysia Agreement and the Federal Constitution, we in Sabah need to use the state assembly platform because the rulings and enactments that we gazette will remain longer than the executive decision.

“This includes a decision on whether to bring to an international court as a result of the failure to implement this Agreement over the years. The executive branch may not be able to make a decision like this, but the legislative branch can,” he noted.