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Collective support hailed
Published on: Friday, April 19, 2019
By: Larry Ralon

Kota Kinabalu: Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal is pleased by the actions of state assemblymen in collectively supporting the effort to claim the rights of the people of Sabah as enshrined in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63). 

He said Article 8 in the MA63 is, indeed, the main essence in the claim for Sabah rights which have been produced to the Federal Government to be studied in the Special Cabinet Committee on the MA63 that was formed by the Federal Government and chaired by the Prime Minister.

“Article 8 stated that ‘The Governments of the Federation of Malaya, North Borneo and Sarawak will take such legislative, executive or other action as may be required to implement the assurances, undertakings and recommendations contained in Chapter 3 of, and Annexes A and B to, the Report of the Inter-Governmental Committee signed on 27th February 1963, in so far as they are not implemented by express provision of the Constitution of Malaysia’,” he said in his winding-up speech at the State Legislative Assembly sitting, Thursday. 

He was replying to a proposal from Tambunan Assemblyman Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan who suggested that the State Government use Article 8 to claim for Sabah rights. He said under the Special Cabinet Committee there three committees created namely the Steering Committee, Technical Committee and Working Committee to study the MA63, and under the Working Committee there are three clusters headed by a Lead Agency which comprises Federal ministries. 

The Financial Cluster study on issues related to the Special Provision, while the Economy Cluster on issues related to exploration, oil and gas, land and land revenue as well as maritime and fisheries, and Social Cluster on labour, State works and Federal Works, Public Services and Health. 

“Apart from that, several issues related to cash payment, commercial discussion and taxes, including import and export duty and sales tax will be discussed in a separate forum,” he said.

He said issues related to minerals, oil and oilfields: Continental Shelf Act 1966 [Act 83] and Petroleum Mining Act 1966 [Act 95]; Territorial Sea Act 2012 [Act 750]; and Stamp Duties Chargeable on instruments for the transfer, charge and sublease of land in Sabah: Revenue from land to the State will be discussed in the joint discussion between Federal Attorney-General and State Attorney-Generals of Sabah and Sarawak.

“The study on MA63 is expected to complete within six months on June 2019. The MA63 Interim Report Preparation Meeting will be held in Sabah soon that is from April 22 to 24. While the MA63 Full Report will be completed in June,” he said. 

He also welcome any of the assemblymen who have additional issues to raise relating to Article 8 to forward them to the State Government by stating the specific issue, the justification and recommendation to enable it be discussed and studied by the Federal Government. 

On an issue raised Dr Jeffrey on the timber log export ban, Mohd Shafie said it was issued through the State Forestry Department on May 23, last year. 

“Actually this is not something new as it had also been enforced in Sabah in 1993. The export ban this time around is meant to ensure the supply of raw wood material is sufficient for the needs of the domestic industry throughout Sabah, apart from opening employment opportunities to local people and generate economic overflow in the locality area,” he said.

He said logging activity has never been banned and is still allowed for titled land areas, government lands and also in Commercial Forest Reserve (Class II) areas which have logging licence issued by the State Forestry Department. 

About the issue of logs being transported at night time, he said this cannot be linked to illegal logging. 

To the Elopura, Likas, Kiulu, Tambunan, Kemabong and Lumadan assemblymen who raised the illegal immigrants problem, Mohd Shafie again stressed that the State Government is not involved in giving citizenship to illegal immigrants. 

“The Government always strive the best it can to ensure the illegal immigrants who were arrested to continuously be deported back to their respective country of origin,” he said. 

He also stressed that the plan to prevent illegal immigrants from entering into the State by placing them on an already identified island is only in the form of transit to prevent the possibility of negative elements entering the State. 

On the proposal by Kemabong Assemblyman Jamawi Jaafar to set up a Special Committee to study and recommend measures to address the illegal immigrants in Sabah, Mohd Shafie said there is no need for that because at the moment there is already a committee that has the same role that is the Sabah Foreigners Management Committee (JKPWAS) which had been set up in line with the recommendation in the Royal Commission of Inquiry on Illegal Immigrants in Sabah’s investigation report. 

To a question from Dr Jeffrey on the regularisation exercise, Mohd Shafie said the Government has agreed to implement the regularisation involving illegals who are presently working in plantation, agriculture and agriculture sub-sectors from April 1 to September this year. 

“As of Apr 16, a total of 10,323 including their dependents have been registered under the regularisation exercise. Of the figure, 10,195 are in the plantation sector and 128 in agriculture sector,” he said. 

Mohd Shafie said the State Government also condemned that Malaysia is put in the K List under the US Advisory and the illegal immigrants data, as it does not show the reality, especially on the security situation in Sabah. 

The Government hopes the US Advisory can relook the matter by getting the clearer picture on the current security situation in Sabah especially the East Coast. 

The Chief Minister also said the claim by Kiulu Assemblyman Datuk Joniston Bangkuai that there are 200,000 illegal immigrants who were not accepted by their original country is not true because there is no government agency holding such data. 

On Apas Assemblyman Datuk Nizam Abu Bakar Titingan who raised the issue of the use of pump boat and its relation to infiltration of foreigners suspected to be involved in extremist groups, Mohd Shafie said the ban on the use of pump boat was withdrawn as part of the Government effort to assist the B40 people in the East Coast who use pump boats as a mode of transport, including by fishermen and has no connection with infiltration of militants. 

The Government has introduced a method to identify the pump boat owners through registration and colour identity of the pump boat allowed only for Malaysian citizens to make sure it will not be misused. 

 



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