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'MA63 realisation important towards strengthening Malaysia'

26th March, 2019

KOTA KINABALU: The realisation of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) is important towards strengthening Malaysia, says Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal.

“Malaysia is our country. What is important is touching the hearts of Malaysians. “The agreement has to be fulfilled and that is what Sabahans want,” he said.

Shafie said that it was important to learn from events that occurred in the former Soviet Union and other countries, and currently the United Kingdom’s Brexit.

“We need to learn from all this, we need to work together to understand each other and it should not be based on race and religion.

“I think we must realise that to be Malaysian, we must not work in silos. I have been working for the country (serving in various ministerial capacities in the federal government) for more than 30 years.

“I want to return to my home town. I want to make Sabah a part of Malaysia; that is my intention,” he said.

Shafie added that highlighting the need to realise MA63 does not mean that the people are against Malaysia.

“It doesn’t mean when we highlight this that we want everything for ourselves. This is the voice of 1963, which we have yet to realise.

“I think when we ask for more funds, it is for our development – I have mentioned this in many federal cabinet meetings in Kuala Lumpur.

“We have been sharing our wealth all this while but I don’t think we mind that. Petronas drills in Sabah and Sarawak too, and we don’t mind that.

“What we are not happy about is that our (royalty) payment has been locked in since 1974. It is already 2019 and the payment still stays at 5%,” he said during a dialogue on “About G25 and Understanding Sabah’s issues relating to Government reforms, federal relations and extent of Islamisation in Sabah” here on Monday.

Shafie said he had told Petronas to consider doing away with Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects and putting the money aside for the state’s newly formed education ministry, which needs help refurbishing 587 dilapidated schools in the state.

“I have set up a state education ministry for us to mould the mind of Sabahans so they can have a feel of what Malaysian is all about,” he said, adding that many of these schools lacked teachers and proper infrastructure.

He said that Sabah’s aspirations to realise the Malaysia Agreement saw them voting in a new government as a way forward in realising their dreams.

“It is not that we want to take ourselves out of Malaysia,” he added.

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