KUCHING, Nov 30 ― Tan Sri Adenan Satem defended his decision not to proceed with tabling a motion to restore Sarawak's 1963 status as a partner to Peninsular Malaysia.
According to the Sarawak chief minister, his administration prefers to utilise diplomacy to settle the issue.
"Many have criticis ed us on why we did not follow the Inter-Governmental Committee Report and Malaysia Agreement (to restore Sarawak's status), but we prefer diplomacy over confrontation to resolve this issue," he said when winding the debate on the State Budget 2017 in the state assembly here.
Prior to the state assembly's session, Adenan had said the state Barisan Nasional (BN) would table a comprehensive motion on Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution that downgraded Sarawak's status to one of the 13 states, Territorial Sea Act, Continental Shelf Act and Petroleum Development Act.
The three Acts are said to have eroded Sarawak's rights over it natural resources within its territorial sea boundary and placed under the jurisdiction of the federal government.
However, at the pre-council of the state BN, Adenan had decided to withdraw tabling the motion.
Adenan told the state assembly that the state government is not making a U-turn on reclaiming Sarawak's rights, adding that he believes that federal and state governments can resolve this issue amicably between the parties concerned.
He said the consultation approach is manifested through Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s regular visits to Sarawak and his approval of many projects during his visits.
Moreover, he said, Najib had announced that he was willing to discuss with Sarawak and Sabah on any matters related to the misinterpretations and misunderstandings to the Malaysia Agreement 1963.
"On this note, he clearly shows that he is willing to discuss this matter with the State Government and to find solutions to resolve this issue," he added.
On the second phase of devolution of power from the federal to the state government, Adenan said a joint technical committee will meet tomorrow to discuss matters relating to finance, financial review under Article 112D of the Federal Constitution, import duty and excise duty on petroleum products and federal financial obligations for expenditure in Concurrent List.
He said the meeting will also touch on oil exploration, mining and gas and distribution of gas.