Special task force to be announced soon, says Liew

NST

KUALA LUMPUR: The Pakatan Harapan government has reached its 100 days in office.

The biggest question remains how well or poorly they have done in fulfilling the 10 manifesto pledges.

Among the pledges include the setting up of a task force to study the granting of autonomy to Sabah and Sarawak, as stated in in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Liew Vui Keong has said the government had given the green light for the setting up of a special cabinet committee to monitor and oversee the upholding of Sabah and Sarawak’s rights, based on the agreement.

The de facto law minister told Parliament that the committee would comprise representatives from the peninsula, Sabah and Sarawak, and the opposition, who had the expertise on the matter.

When contacted by the New Straits Times Press on the progress of the formation of the committee, Liew said he would announce it soon.


Datuk Liew Vui Keong

Asked on updates on the list of representatives of the committee, Liew said they were working on the selection process as a number of people had expressed their wish to be on the committee.

“We have a number of people who are interested to be considered and a vetting process is required,” he said.

When asked whether the 100 days given was too short for PH to fulfil its promises, Liew said it was far-fetched to say that the new government would complete each promise within the period of time.

“We must remember that PH has not only got 100 days to be the government of the day, but the next five years, unless the Parliament is dissolved before the term expires.

“There are some reforms that cannot be carried out within given time as they need to go through the process of engagement with the stakeholders and the public. This requires time,” he said.

Liew added that he had no doubts that the people understood the time constraints faced by PH in carrying out various reforms.

He also gave his assurance that the promises made by PH in the manifesto would be carried out in earnest.

Bandar Kuching member of parliament Dr Kelvin Yii said the minister would make the announcement and updates on the committee soon.

“I just spoke to the minister to follow up on the formation of the committee yesterday (Aug 14). He said that he would make the announcement soon, especially on the composition of the committee members.

“It has already been passed by cabinet weeks ago and I believe the status and composition of the committee will be announced soon.

“I will also continue to follow up on the matter and believe in the government’s intention to review and propose corrective measures in a few matters in view of MA63,” he said.

Yii said a study would be done to formulate, review legislation and propose corrective measures on several important areas, including the status of the MA63 in the context of current legislation, Sabah and Sarawak’s rights to natural resources, including oil and gas, and amendment to Article 1 of the Federal Constitution.

The formation of the committee, he said, was a step towards restoring the status and rightful position of Sabah and Sarawak, especially in terms of legislative corrections to give it legal standing, rather than mere public declarations.

Yii said when the previous government was in power, such negotiations were kept behind closed doors and no timeline was given for promises made while legislative corrections were done.

Selangor Bar Committee Legal Aid co-chairman and senior lawyer K.A. Ramu said the 100-days period was too brief for PH to fulfil all of its promises as many of them were new to the ministerial posts.

“They need to learn their ropes to achieve their targets in the manifesto.

“Give them time and PH will do well compared with the previous government,” he said.

He said the committee should comprise university lecturers, senior politicians, former civil servants and “orang asal”, who sought integration and knew what’s best for the people.

Ramu added that the government should be backed with knowledgeable people and those who understood the subject of the MA63. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd