Bill to amend constitution a trap, says ex-rep

Voon Lee Shan

KUCHING, April 5: Former Batu Lintang assemblyman Voon Lee Shan describes the proposed amendment to Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution as a trap by Putrajaya to please Sarawakians and Sabahans without actually restoring the status of the two Borneon states.

He said no matter how the Federal Constitution is amended, the amendment could not take away the fact that the birth of Malaysia should not have existed in the first place.

“Malaysia should be an unborn child,” said Voon in a statement in reacting to the Bill that was tabled for first reading in Parliament yesterday.

He said there was no Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) without a Cobbold Commission Report and there would be no Malaysia without MA63. Therefore, he added, the MA63 could not stand as a legal treaty when the Cobbold Commission Report was defective in law.

“From available records, those interviewed by the Cobbold Commission in Sarawak within a period of about four weeks were about 4,000 people only out of a population of over 800,000 in Sarawak. Only one-third of those who were interviewed agreed to the formation of Malaysia, another one third disagree and the other could not make their minds.

“These small number of people could not, in law, represent the voice of all people of Sarawak for purpose of agreeing to the formation of Malaysia.”

He said the Bill was a diversion tactic purposely to divert the attention of Sarawakians and Sabahans away from the real issues affecting the formation of the Federation of Malaysia.

“The real issue is that doubt arose whether Malaysia was properly constituted or not. If Malaysia had not been properly constituted, no amount of the amendment to the Federal Constitution could regularise the status of Sabah and Sarawak within the Federation of Malaysia. In simple language, Malaysia was a stillborn child.”

Voon, who is a practising lawyer, said even if the MA63 is a valid treaty, which is disputed, the amendment tabled concerning Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution showed that Sarawak and Sabah were to be downgraded from country to state equal in status to the states of Malaya, which was simply unacceptable.

He said the position of Sarawak and Sabah before Malaysia came into existence was that they were equal in status with the Federation of Malaya.

By the amendment, he explained that even if the status of Sarawak and Sabah were to be restored, this does not mean Sarawak and Sabah would be treated as equal partners in the Federation of Malaysia.

“The Head of State or Governor of Sarawak has to be appointed by the Agong, and the Agong is from the Federation of Malaya, which shows that Sarawak and Sabah are subservient to Malaya.

“The federal cabinet is controlled by Malaya, putting the ministers from Sabah and Sarawak with little voice. Being in control of the federal cabinet, the Federation of Malaya can table any Bill to become law to the detriment of Sabah and Sarawak.

“The passing of the Petroleum Development Act 1974 and the Sea Territorial Act 2012 are laws passed by Parliament to take away oil and gas rights of Sabah and Sarawak by the Federation of Malaya.”

He said if the federal government was really serious in restoring the equal status and equal partnership of Sabah and Sarawak with the Federation of Malaya, all 222 parliamentary seats should be divided equally between the Federation of Malaya with Sabah and Sarawak, but there was no amendment to the Federal Constitution to this effect. — DayakDaily