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Minister: No need to establish special ministry for Sabah, Sarawak
Published on: Thursday, May 25, 2023
By: Bernama, FMT
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Minister: No need to establish special ministry for Sabah, Sarawak
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Sabah, Sarawak Affairs and Special Duties) Datuk Armizan Mohd Ali speaks during the Minister's Question Time at the Dewan Rakyat, May 25, 2023. ― Bernama pic
Kuala Lumpur: There is no need to create a special ministry to handle Sabah and Sarawak affairs to avoid the possibility of overlapping functions with existing federal ministries.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Sabah, Sarawak Affairs and Special Duties) Datuk Armizan Mohd Ali said the Sabah and Sarawak Affairs Division (BHESS) under the Prime Minister’s Department was established in March 2020 to facilitate and address all issues pertaining to the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).

“So for me, there shouldn’t be overlapping functions. Let the BHESS functions as the secretariat so that we can propose negotiations between the Federal and the Sabah and Sarawak governments without having to interfere with ministerial functions in each ministry.

“I think we need to maintain the commitment to empowerment and devolution of authority (to Sabah and Sarawak) without having to establish a special ministry in charge of Sabah and Sarawak affairs.

“In doing so, we want to avoid overlapping functions with federal ministries which would ultimately affect the efforts to devolve powers to the Sabah and Sarawak governments,” he said during Minister's Question Time at the Dewan Rakyat today.

Apart from that, Armizan said the federal government’s commitment to solving the water supply issues in Sabah would also not interfere with the jurisdiction, rights and interests of the state government.

“Water is under the state’s jurisdiction as stated in List II Schedule Nine of the Federal Constitution.

“So, no need to worry. The federal government under the leadership of Tambun MP (Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim) will always respect the rights and interests of state governments, including the additional power for Sabah and Sarawak,” he said.

The minister said this in reply to Lo Su Fui (GRS-Tawau) who wanted to know the government’s commitment to solving the water woes in Sabah as pledged at the Unity Government National Convention on May 14.

At the convention, Anwar was reported as saying that he would talk to Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Nor and Kelantan Menteri Besar Kelantan Datuk Ahmad Yakob to find solutions to the water woes in the two states.

The prime minister said he remained committed to finding solutions to the issue after receiving input from the state leaders regarding the long-standing problems plaguing the states.

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