THERE is no need for a special ministry to handle Sabah and Sarawak affairs, as its duties may overlap with those of existing federal ministers, said Sabah, Sarawak Affairs and Special Functions Minister Armizan Mohd Ali.
He said the Sabah and Sarawak Affairs Division (SSAD) under the Prime Minister’s Department was established in March 2020 to facilitate and address all issues pertaining to the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).
“So for me, there shouldn’t be overlapping functions. Let the SSAD function as the secretariat so we can propose negotiations between the federal and the Sabah and Sarawak governments without having to interfere with ministerial functions.
“I think we need to maintain the commitment to the empowerment and devolution of authority (of Sabah and Sarawak) without establishing a special ministry for Sabah and Sarawak affairs.
“We want to avoid overlapping functions with federal ministries, which would ultimately affect efforts to devolve powers to the Sabah and Sarawak governments,” he said during Ministers’ Question Time at the Dewan Rakyat today.
Armizan said Putrajaya’s solutions to Sabah’s water woes will not infringe on the jurisdiction, rights and interests of the state government.
“Water is under the state’s jurisdiction as stated in list II, schedule 9 of the Federal Constitution.
“The federal government under the leadership of Tambun MP (Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim) will always respect the rights and interests of state governments, including the additional powers of Sabah and Sarawak,” he said.
The minister said this in response to Lo Su Fui (Tawau-GRS), who asked about Putrajaya’s commitment to solve Sabah’s water woes as pledged during the Unity Government National Convention on May 14.
At the convention, Anwar reportedly said he would talk to Sabah Chief Minister Hajiji Mohd Noor and Kelantan Menteri Besar Ahmad Yakob to find solutions to water supply issues in the two states. – Bernama, May 25, 2023.