Sabah to have sovereign rights on Sipadan, Ligitan

KOTA KINABALU (BERNAMA) – The Special Council on Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MKMA63) has agreed to hand over the administration of Sipadan and Ligitan islands to Sabah, while Sarawak will have full control and management of its gas distribution.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Sabah and Sarawak) Dr Maximus Ongkili said the decision was reached in the MKMA63 virtual meeting chaired by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, which was also participated by Sabah Chief Minister Hajiji Noor and Sarawak Chief Minister Abang Johari Tun Openg.

“The formal surrender of the Sipadan and Ligitan islands to Sabah, which means full authority and control over the administration of both islands will be under the purview of the Sabah Government… this is with the exception of security control, which will still be under the purview of the Federal Government.

“The Prime Minister said Sabah has sovereignty rights on the two islands, which are put under the supervision of Sabah Parks and placed under the protection of the Protected Areas and Protected Places Act 1959,” he said in a statement yesterday.

Ongkili said the Sabah and Sarawak Affairs Division (BHESS) and the National Security Council (MKN) will make the arrangements for the full handover. He said the handover to Sarawak over the control and management of gas distribution under the Distribution of Gas Ordinance 2016 will take effect on June 1.

Ongkili added that the two issues were resolved within four months since the Council held its maiden meeting in December last year.

He said under the Equal Partner Working Committee head by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Takiyuddin Hassan, two reports were tabled.

“One (is) on the proposed constitutional amendments under Article 1(2) and Article 160 (2) of the Federal Constitution, which deals with the definition of the federation. The legal team is chaired by Attorney-General Idrus Harun, together with the Sabah and Sarawak Attorneys-General.

“Their second report is with regards to judiciary issues in the High Courts of Sabah and Sarawak. A committee has been formed on this to sit with the Attorney-Generals of Sabah and Sarawak,” Ongkili said.

Home Minister Hamzah Zainuddin also presented his report that touched on the outcome of the meetings on illegal immigrants, the Palau’ community and national registration issues on laws being infringed in Sabah and Sarawak.