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Azmin Ali: Discussion was needed if there was a need to review leaders sitting the committee

The composition of members appointed into the Steering Committee formed to restore the rights of Sabah and Sarawak as enshrined in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) was made after thorough deliberation with many quarters including leaders from the two states before it was approved by the Cabinet.

Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali said another round of discussion, which goes through a similar process, was needed if there was a need to review the composition of leaders and office bearers sitting the committee.

In his response towards the call made by Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Abang Openg for more representatives from the two Bornean states as panel members, Azmin said the government had taken into consideration on the requirement and need with regards to the issues surrounding MA63 before deciding on the composition of members in the committee.

“Appointment of representatives (from Sabah and Sarawak sitting in the committee) is up to needs and discussion.

“It is imperative to have representatives from Sabah and Sarawak to sit in the committee since matters to restore the rights of both states in accordance with MA63 is a serious agenda.

“Having that said, the number of representatives in the committee is subject to the requirement, needs and discussion among all parties,” the PKR deputy president said when met at the e-voting centre for the Gombak branch PKR in Sungai Tua here today.

It was reported that Abang Johari, who is also the Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) president, expressed his concern over the lack of balance in the composition of members sitting in the committee.

He reckoned that majority of members in the committee should be from Sabah and Sarawak since they are well-verse and understand better the well-being of people in West Malaysia.

The committee was initiated by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammad to realise provisions enshrined in MA63. Dr Mahathir, subsequently, was appointed as the chairman of the committee.

Apart from Azmin, other Federal ministers sitting in the committee included Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng, Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo, Transport Minister Anthony Loke and Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah.

Leaders from Sabah and Sarawak appointed into the committee included Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Liew Vui Keong, Works Minister Baru Bian, International Trade and Industry Minister Darell Leiking, Abang Johari and Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal.

Top government officials sitting in the committee included Chief Secretary to the Government Datuk Seri Ismail Bakar, Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak at the Palace of Justice Datuk David Wong Dak Wah, Attorney-General Tommy Thomas, Sarawak Attorney-General Datuk Talat Mahmood Abdul Rashid and Sabah Attorney-General Zaleha Rose Pandin.

Also among the 16 members of the committee is Universiti Malaya Law Professor Prof Emeritus Datuk Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi

“I believe this committee can give a new confidence among the people of Sabah and Sarawak.

“This is the commitment of the Pakatan Harapan government to ensure that MA63 could be implemented for the prosperity and well-being of the people of Sabah and Sarawak,” said Azmin.

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