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Monday, July 10, 2017

Minister denies Sarawak lacks confidence in AG's Chambers



Sarawak Minister Stephen Rundi Utom has denied that his state government has no confidence in the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) and is therefore sending a team of lawyers to London to study Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).
Stephen, who is also Sarawak BN secretary-general, said this in rebutting the claim by jailed opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim that Sarawak's move portrayed the state government's lack of confidence in the AGC.
"Of course we deny Anwar's allegation," he said in a text message.
"This is a fact-finding team. We realised that it's important to have the facts right before we can further talk about devolution of power and the state has no ulterior motive.
"To us, the real facts are vital and what Anwar commented doesn't really matter to us as long as the federal government understands our intention," said Stephen, who is the state's rural electricity and water supply minister.
Meanwhile, Sarawak BN Youth chief Fadillah Yusof also slammed Anwar for making a populist statement.
"It was a populist statement, as always," Fadillah said, declining to comment further.
Last week, Sarawak Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg (photo) said the state would send a team of lawyers on a one-week trip to London to search for and study any references related to the state's rights under MA63.
The MA63 provided for the joining of Malaya, Singapore, North Borneo (now known as Sabah) and Sarawak into the Federation of Malaysia. Singapore left the federation in 1965.
Anwar said the government should not take the move lightly as it could have serious implications on the relationship between Putrajaya, Sarawak and Sabah.
"I urge Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak to act immediately and to be open-hearted on studying the source of nervousness surrounding the MA63," he said.
Meanwhile, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, Nancy Shukri, said the London delegation would not affect talks with the federal government on the devolution of powers.

Nancy said the State Technical Committee would bring them to the Steering Committee on the Devolution of Powers, which she chairs jointly with Foreign Minister Anifah Aman.
"Talks with Putrajaya have nothing to do with what happened in Sarawak (on the decision to send lawyers to London). The state government has the right to dig into the history of Sarawak.
"It is not interfering with what we are doing over there. We have to look from two different perspectives, what happens in Putrajaya and here," she added.- Mkini

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