Armizan's accidental dual roles in Madani government
SHAH ALAM - A lot has happened since the Minister in the Prime Minister's Department for Sabah, Sarawak Affairs and Special Functions Datuk Armizan Mohd Ali was given the portfolio that oversees the East Malaysia states.
Armizan, who is also the Papar Member of Parliament, had described his appointment as a great trust that comes with challenging duties and interesting responsibilities.
“It’s an interesting responsibility because it is very close to the core of my struggle all this while, especially in the political arena and among the main agenda is to follow up on the MA63 (Malaysia Agreement 1963).
“Thank God, I’ve been exposed to and involved in this responsibility while serving in the Sabah Chief Minister’s Office since 2020 under the leadership of Datuk Seri Panglima Hajiji Noor, and also have the experience of working with the minister’s office team in the Prime Minister’s Department (Sabah and Sarawak) previously under the leadership of (the late) Datuk Seri Panglima Dr Maximus Ongkili," he had said in a statement
During his tenure, Armizan's main challenge was in ensuring effective coordination and resolution of issues related to the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) without disrupting the operations of individual ministries.
With Armizan's appointment to the federal government, more issues from the East Malaysia states took centerstage and both states were able to reach meaningful milestones.
The payment of special grants to the state governments of Sabah and Sarawak was completed this year, with a new rate of RM300 million per year in special allocation for each state.
Additionally, the federal government also delegated the power to approve development projects below RM50 million to technical agencies in both states to enhance the effectiveness of these projects.
Sarawak also passed two landmark laws, namely the Sarawak Ombudsman Bill 2023 and the Environment (Reduction of Greenhouse Gases Emission) Bill, making it the first Malaysian state to establish an ombudsman and pass legislation addressing climate change.
Furthermore, the federal government also allocated RM12.4 billion to Sabah and Sarawak under the Malaysia Madani Budget 2024, with a focus on upholding the consensus reached by previous leaders in the Malaysia Agreement 1963.
Things took a sad turn in the middle of the year as Armizan was assigned to oversee the Domestic Trade and Cost of Living Ministry following the death of Datuk Seri Salahuddin Ayub.
Salahuddin had died on July 23 after undergoing surgery for brain haemorrhage.
Since taking on this role on July 30, following his appointment by Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, the Papar MP has been resolute in addressing pressing issues, including disruptions in the supply of local rice and the escalating prices of imported rice.
Notably, the initiative to provide imported rice at Rahmah prices during nationwide sales events was mooted by Armizan to ensure it wouldn't hinder the availability of local rice in the market.
Armizan also helped to continue Salahuddin's idea of launching a special discount card for entrepreneurs.
This initiative aims to tackle the cost of living issue and make healthy dining affordable.
Armizan was also responsible in proposing several sites to be used as evacuation centres in cases of natural disasters and emergencies.
He has been actively working with the National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma) in kick-starting the evacuation centres, starting in flood-prone "hotspot" areas.