Muhyiddin Yassin at the National Day celebrations in Sibu last year. He announced the formation of a special council on the Malaysia Agreement 1963. (Bernama pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: Muhyiddin Yassin said he will ensure that Sabah and Sarawak are given fair treatment to bring them on par with peninsula states.

He said that there is much more work to be done, taking into account the wide gap between the two regions. “Even in the peninsula, there are states that are still behind compared to some other states,” he said.

“Sabah and Sarawak must be given fair treatment. That is why I have (appointed) a minister who manages Sabah and Sarawak affairs and the MA63 (Malaysia Agreement 1963). We will evaluate and refine. We have reached common agreement on some matters,” he said in a special media interview in conjunction with his first anniversary as prime minister.

Muhyiddin said the creation of the Sabah and Sarawak Affairs portfolio was due to the position of the two states which were behind in terms of development and infrastructure.

“Early on, when I formed the Cabinet, I thought this was an important thing. That’s why I appointed minister Maximus Ongkili and deputy minister (Hanifah Hajar Taib). I have started special meetings with the chief ministers to discuss the Malaysia Agreement 1963,” he said.

The key issues that have plagued the two states for so long were poverty, infrastructure, economy and Internet access.

“These are issues that have been around since long ago that I inherited but we have to find a way now in the Perikatan Nasional administration to reduce the gap.

The establishment of the special council on MA63 was announced by Muhyiddin at the Malaysia Day celebration in Sibu, Sarawak, on Sept 16 last year. The members of the council held their first meeting on Dec 2 last year and approved the establishment of three committees that will handle various matters that are important to Sabah and Sarawak.

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