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Friday, April 9, 2021

Jeffrey: 'Wilayah' would mean equal partners

 Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Dr Jeffrey Kitingan during a press conference after the closing of Sabah's Agriculture and Fisheries Ministry's annual meeting last night. - Pic courtesy of Sabah Agriculture and Fisheries Ministry

KOTA KINABALU: Declaring Sabah and Sarawak as "regions" would mean both states are equal partners to the federation, Sabah Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Dr Jeffrey Kitingan said.

Jeffrey was commenting on a viral message on what it would mean for Sabah and Sarawak to be classified as regions following Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin's recent statement in a similar manner.

"Recently, the prime minister had said during his recent visit in Sarawak that Sabah and Sarawak are not states, but something higher than that; they are 'wilayah' (regions).

"The word 'wilayah' is being used in the context of the formation of Malaysia which involves three regions that are Sabah, Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia.

"In other words, Malaysia consists of three entities and thus Sabah and Sarawak cannot be equated to the same status as other states in the peninsula."

Jeffrey, however, reminded the people not to take the viral message at face value.

"I am not sure where it (the viral message) came from, if it is not from the Prime Minister's Department or other departments with locus standi, do not believe it.

"I believe we need to have more concise and clear terminology so that there will not be any confusion over the issue," the state agriculture and fisheries minister told reporters after his ministry's meeting last night.

Jeffrey, who also sits in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 working committee, added the definition of "wilayah" was not the same as Labuan which is a federal territory, which did not enjoy the same jurisdictions as a state. - NST

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