18 and 20-Point Agreements have no force of law to prevent secession, says former rep

Voon Lee Shan - file pic

KUCHING, Oct 17: No one should stop Sarawak and Sabah from leaving Malaysia unless the two states agree to such a move since Sarawak’s 18-Point Agreement and Sabah’s 20-Point Agreement have no force of law.

Referring to Point 7 of the 20-Point Agreement which states “There should be no right to secede from the Federation”, former Batu Lintang assemblyman Voon Lee Shan, begged to differ with the arguments put forth by certain academics on that point.

“This is because the word ‘should’ as opposed to ‘shall’ is only a recommendation not to secede. The word ‘shall’ is a command while ‘should’ is not,” he said in a statement issued today.

Voon, who is a lawyer, also argued that since the 18- and 20-Point Agreements had no force of law, no one therefore could have the room to say Sabah and Sarawak could not secede from Malaysia.

“It is a simple thing; for example, if we can enter a house, we can also leave the house. It is our right because it affects our liberty and no one should stop us (from) leaving the house, unless we agree to it,” he added.


The 18- and 20-Point Agreements, he opined, were matters which should have been incorporated in the Federal Constitution for protection of rights of the people of Sabah and Sarawak but many were not incorporated or had been removed from the Constitution.

Moreover, Voon pointed out that since Parliament has a right under Article 2 of the Federal Constitution to change state boundaries, the people of Sabah and Sarawak could thus seek for Parliament to move a motion for a referendum to be held by the people of Sabah and Sarawak for self-rule or independence and to secede from Malaysia.

“If the people of Sabah and Sarawak decide they should self-govern themselves, it is up to Parliament then to make the final decision by passing an Act to that effect. Meaning Parliament will still has the last say,” he said.

“If Parliament allows cessation, Parliament has to alter the state boundaries under Article 2 of the Federal Constitution to exclude Sabah and Sarawak out of Malaysia,” he added.

Now that people were more aware of the erosion of rights as stated in Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), Voon said the voices of the people of Sabah and Sarawak were clear and loud in that they want a referendum to be moved in Parliament to determine for themselves whether or not they should stay in or secede from Malaysia.

“I hope Members of Parliament from Sabah and Sarawak, especially from DAP and PKR will look into the matter seriously,” he said. — DayakDaily