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PM: Putrajaya will restore Sabah, S'wak as equal partners

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Putrajaya will restore Sabah and Sarawak's status as equal partners of the federation as per the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), said Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

"In MA63, all four territories (including Singapore) joined as equal partners, who stood tall together.

"But in the following years (after Singapore left) saw Sabah and Sarawak's status change from equal partners to states in Malaysia.

"The new Malaysia and the Pakatan Harapan government will take note of this, and will restore the equal partner status to Sabah and Sarawak.

"This is part of the process which will be implemented once the MA63 study is completed," Mahathir said in his Malaysia Day speech in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah today.

Setting up a special cabinet committee to properly enforce MA63 was one of Harapan's 10 promises for its first 100 days in office.

The committee had received cabinet approval but a lineup has yet to be revealed.

In his speech, Mahathir said the MA63 review will raise the need to relook past practices, which he hoped would be done in the spirit of cooperation, respect, and compromise.

"Without this spirit and attitude, our unity as one country, one people will be eroded and the beauty of what we have achieved all this while will be lost in the future," he said.

The prime minister also assured that Putrajaya will find ways to improve the infrastructure in Sabah and Sarawak, but hoped they would also understand that there are states in the peninsula that also need the federal government's assistance.

Meanwhile, in a separate statement, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, who is also the finance minister, said the Harapan government will ensure the social and economic rights of Sabahans and Sarawakians.

"Further, Sabahans and Sarawakians will be reassured by Harapan’s vision of unity embracing all races and religions as well as every geographical region that reaffirms and reinforces the soul of Malaysia as democratic, respects rule of law, upholds integrity in leadership, social and economic justice, tolerant, celebrates diversity and inclusiveness.

"Only with political, social and economic justice for Sabah and Sarawak can we overcome the opposition’s dangerous politics of national divisiveness, ethnic chauvinism, racist dominance, religious extremism and any independence movement that clouds reason with blind hatred," said Lim. 

Earlier this month, Putrajaya had announced that starting next year, the minimum wage nationwide would be equalised to RM1,050.

The figure represents an RM50 increase from the current RM1,000 minimum wage for Peninsular Malaysia, and an RM130 increase from the RM920 in East Malaysia.

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