Warisan Calls for Vigilance on State Rights as Sabah, Sarawak Affairs Portfolio Removed in Federal Reshuffle

Warisan Calls for Vigilance on State Rights as Sabah, Sarawak Affairs Portfolio Removed in Federal Reshuffle

In the aftermath of the federal cabinet reshuffle, Warisan President Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal emphasized the potential marginalization of Sabah and Sarawak with the removal of the Sabah and Sarawak affairs portfolio. Despite his concerns, Shafie acknowledged the decision’s validity and questioned the ongoing discussions on state rights. He highlighted that certain provisions of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) had already been incorporated into the Federal Constitution, emphasizing the need for implementation rather than further negotiations.

Addressing Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof, now responsible for the portfolio, Shafie expressed hope for effective execution rather than mere bureaucratic restructuring. He underscored that the core issue lay in implementing the existing provisions of the Federal Constitution, particularly those related to MA63.

Before the reshuffle, Datuk Armizan Mohd Ali oversaw Sabah and Sarawak affairs in the Prime Minister’s Department. Fadillah has since assumed the role of energy transition and public utilities minister, while Armizan now serves as the domestic trade and cost of living minister.

Shafie stressed the importance of upholding the Federal Constitution without amendments catering to personal interests. He asserted that the focus should be on ensuring the implementation of provisions to address the concerns of the people in Sabah.

The Sabah and Sarawak affairs portfolio, established in 2020 to prevent ministry overlaps, served as a secretariat facilitating negotiations between the federal government and the two states. Shafie commented on the creation of the MA63 Implementation Action Council under Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and the upcoming decision on the 40% net revenue for Sabah’s special grant in July. This decision influenced the withdrawal of a suit by Sabah Pakatan Harapan assemblymen regarding revenue entitlement.

Shafie also touched upon recent developments, including a federal government payment of RM300 million to Sabah over five years, sparking questions among Sabah MPs. The review order paper raised concerns about interim payments potentially affecting the upcoming decision on the 40% revenue entitlement in July. Despite suggestions for a new formula, the Sabah government rejected the proposal.

In concluding remarks, Shafie congratulated Anwar on the new cabinet lineup, expressing hope that the ministers would effectively address Sabah’s issues despite having only two Sabahans in the federal cabinet. He emphasized the importance of performance over the number of ministers and urged the resolution of critical concerns such as infrastructure, water, education, and healthcare.


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