Sarawak to Stay in Malaysia
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Sarawak will remain in Malaysia, said Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg, in assuring certain quarters that there is nothing to fear over the state government's move to send a legal team to London.
"Tok Nan (late Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem) initiated this movement to pursue autonomy for Sarawak based on Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) and I will continue his legacy, but we cannot go blindly" he said.
Abang Johari was responding to persistent doubts over his motive in sending a legal team to London, which were expressed to him when he was in Miri early this week.
"We need the facts so that we can negotiate matters important to our people and state and hopefully our prime minister (Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak) is open hearted when we sit down to discuss" he added.
He was speaking at the Sarawak Malay Culture Foundation (AKYBMS) SAMArindok Aidilfitri celebration at a leading hotel on Tuesday (11 July) night.
He said the objective is to get all the facts so that the state government can establish a strong legal position to pursue and get back what is rightfully Sarawak's as embodied in MA63.
"What is Sarawak's right, give back to Sarawak. It is as simple as that" he said, completely baffled that the move had been taken negatively by certain quarters.
"Why are there people afraid of us sending a legal team to London, including some in Peninsular Malaysia? What is there to fear? We will remain in Malaysia and that's the fact" he assured.
Abang Johari stressed his firm stand that the rights and interests of Sarawak must be safeguarded and the government would pursue the matter of devolution of power to Sarawak with the federal government.
Of late, the opposition parties have strongly opposed the state government's move in sending a legal team to London for various reasons.
State Democratic Action Party (DAP) chairman Chong Chieng Jen said the trip is unnecessary and will be a huge waste of money.
Amanah deputy president Salahuddin Ayu was reported to have said that the Sarawak state government's act of sending lawyers to London to study the MA63 would be inviting foreigners to â€˜intervene' in national affairs.
State legal counsel Datuk JC Fong, State Legislative Assembly (DUN) deputy speaker Datuk Gerawat Gala and lawyers from the State Attorney-General Chambers will form Sarawak's legal team that will be heading to London to study the state's rights under MA63.
The team will be led by Law, Federal-State Relations and Project Monitoring Assistant Minister Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali.
Earlier on, a reliable source told The Borneo Post that the legal team would be in London on July 16 to conduct the study for between four and five days.