Anwar is committed to implementing MA63, says Fadillah

Fadillah Yusof says Anwar Ibrahim has ably resolved longstanding issues surrounding special grant payments to Sabah and Sarawak.

(FMT) – Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim is committed to implementing the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), as shown by his ability to find solutions to long-standing issues, says his deputy Fadillah Yusof.

In an exclusive interview, Fadillah told FMT that during the Pakatan Harapan administration, the government’s offer to increase special grant payments to Sabah and Sarawak was rejected by Sarawak as no formula had been agreed upon to calculate the amount payable.

“(Prior to that) Sarawak had proposed a formula, but attempts to finalise it during Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s and Muhyiddin Yassin’s administrations were unsuccessful,” the Gabungan Parti Sarawak leader said in an interview with FMT.

Fadillah said Anwar was determined to resolve the issue.

“Anwar said: ‘Why don’t we resolve the issue once and for all? Let’s allocate RM300 million as an interim measure while we work out a (long-term) formula. When that is done, we can finalise the sum to be paid.

“That formula is now being worked on by the finance ministry in collaboration with the governments of Sarawak and Sabah,” said Fadillah.

Under Article 112D of the Federal Constitution the two Borneo states are entitled to receive special grant payments on an annual basis, the terms of which are reviewable every five years.

In 2022, Sabah reached an agreement with Ismail Sabri’s administration which saw the special grant payment to the state raised to RM125.6 million annually. Prior to that, Sabah had been receiving a yearly payment of RM16 million dating back to 1969.

In April, Anwar announced a further increase of the annual special grants for Sabah and Sarawak to RM300 million each. In the preceding year, Sarawak received RM16 million while Sabah was paid RM129.7 million.

Fadillah also lauded Anwar’s expeditious action in appointing representatives from Sabah and Sarawak to the Inland Revenue Board, and redelivering 54 plots of land previously leased to Putrajaya for development.

He said the prime minister had shown that he was not only capable of making decisions promptly, but was also able to translate them into actionable outcomes.

“Many decisions were made at policy level without implementation, but the prime minister has acted decisively to resolve them,” said Fadillah.