3 NGOs suggest Sabah, Sarawak decide their own destiny

Illustration photo. — DayakDaily.com file pic. // Photo: Pixabay

KUCHING, April 10: North Borneo (Sabah) and Sarawak should decide their own destiny by invoking Article 8 of the MA63 (Malaysia Agreement 1963).

This is the view of Borneo’s Plight in Malaysia Foundation (BoPiMaFo) president Daniel John Jambun, Solidariti Anak Sarawak (SAS) president Peter John Jaban and Gindol Initiative for Civil Society Borneo chairman Kanul Gindol.

Article 8 of the MA63 reads: “The Governments of the Federation of Malaya, North Borneo and Sarawak will take such legislative, executive or other action as may be required to implement the assurances, undertakings and recommendations contained in Chapter 3 of, and Annexes A and B to, the Report of the Inter-Governmental Committee signed on 27th February 1963, in so far as they are not implemented by express provision of the Constitution of Malaysia” (Note: not the Federal Constitution).

In a joint statement today, the three NGOs said the controversy on Borneo’s rights is set to continue unmitigated as the proposed amendment to Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution, rejected by Parliament yesterday (April 9), does not reflect the spirit of Article 1 of MA63.

Their statement pointed out that Article 1 of the MA63 reads: “The Colonies of North Borneo and Sarawak and the State of Singapore shall be federated with the existing States of the Federation of Malaya as the States of Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore in accordance with the constitutional documents annexed to this Agreement (MA63) and the Federation shall thereafter be called ‘Malaysia’.”

The statement pointed out that the definition of Malaysia as per the rejected Bill is a reflection of the definition of ‘Federation’ in Article 160(2) of the Federal Constitution.

The three NGOs maintained that North Borneo (now Sabah) and Sarawak were not a party to the Federation of Malaya Agreement 1948, reinforced by the Federation of Malaya Independence Act 1957. The definition of ‘Federation’ in Article 160(2) refers to the two said Agreements, they pointed out.

The statement added that Sarawak and Sabah should have told Parliament that they wanted to first discuss Article 1(2) with the people, in the legislature and in the Cabinet, before returning to Parliament to participate in a debate on the said Article and MA63.

“The right forum for MA63 is the Federal Court, sitting as the Constitutional Court, not Parliament. Parliament should repeal/abolish/amend all anti-Borneo elements in the Constitution. Acts passed by Parliament and thereafter the Federal gov’t should comply with MA63, whether incorporated in the Federal Constitution or otherwise.

“Then it can bring Article 1(2) to Parliament again. North Borneo and Sarawak, as States, were transferred as Colonies and, therefore, remain Trust Territories of Malaysia,” said the statement.

It added that to say that MA63, being the ultimate political document and the basis for North Borneo and Sarawak to be federated with the Federation of Malaya, had the force of law.

The Federal Constitution itself is not law, but as the ultimate political document for the Federation of Malaya, it has the force of law, they opined.

The controversy on Borneo rights is set to continue as the federal government apparently does not want to invoke Article 8 of the MA63 to steer North Borneo and Sarawak towards self-determination.

“In fact, the governments of the Trust Territories of North Borneo and Sarawak can also invoke Article 8. It appears that, like the federal government, they are not willing and/or not ready to do that as they are `proxy’ government of Malaya subscribing to `ketuanan Melayuism’ (Malay political supremacy.

“By not invoking Article 8 of MA63, North Borneo and Sarawak have opted for a self-imposed prohibition on upward social mobility. So, the evil caste system in Borneo since Sept 19, 1963, continues unabated with disastrous consequences.” — DayakDaily