KUCHING, Sept 25: Former Padungan assemblyman Dominique Ng commented that if the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) were to be strictly enforced, Peninsular Malaysia-based parties should not be allowed to contest for seats in Sarawak.
Citing the principle behind MA63 and a statement attributed to Inter-Governmental Committee chair Lord Lansdowne that “The Malayan gesture of goodwill in agreeing that the Borneo States with a population of 1 and 1/4 million out of a total of 10 million should have 40 out of 159 seats in the federal parliament,” Ng said it was a decisive factor in convincing Borneo leaders that there was no question of a takeover bid, but a genuine offer of real partnership.
“Lord Lansdowne said in the United Kingdom Malaysia Bill debate in July 1963 that Malaya agreed that Borneo states have 40 out of 159 at the time. Currently, it is 57 out of 222 after Malaya stole Singapore;s seats,” Ng told DayakDaily.
He said during the formation of the Federation of Malaysia, Singapore, along with Sarawak and Sabah, had only held a total of one-third of the number of parliamentary seats.
“When Singapore left in 1965, Malaya simply stole her seats, thus depriving us of the crucial one-third vote block that can prevent Malaya from imposing its will on us by ramming through parliamentary amendments to the Federal Constitution that are not acceptable to Sarawak and Sabah,” he opined.
Hence, he added, the federal government should return the seats to Sarawak and Sabah so that the two Borneon states have enough seats to reject any bill unfavourable to them.
Ng, who is a lawyer by profession, said under the basic principle of MA63, Peninsular Malaysian lawyers could not practice in Sarawak and Sabah.
“Until now, no Malayan lawyers can practise in Sarawak (or Sabah) without getting a temporary licence to do so. And that licence is not given easily or readily. Only when a local lawyer moves and supports an application will our Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak even consider it. And it would only be allowed when the Malayan lawyer has certain legal expertise that no local lawyer possesses.
“This right has been very jealously defended by our local lawyers and the courts, of course, for obvious and very legitimate reasons. And the reasons why we lost other rights over the years is simply because we have politicians who would readily betray and sell off our rights in order to ingratiate themselves with their Malayan masters,” he alleged.
Ng reiterated that when the MA63 is strictly enforced, no Malayan political parties would be allowed to have branches here or to contest for seats in the state.
“That means the Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Harapan can only be Malayan alliances, and they have to get the support of local Sarawak and Sabah alliances in order to form the federal government and the power to amend the Federal Constitution.”
“That is why we should not allow Malayan-based parties to further erode our parliamentary seats by contesting and winning them,” he suggested.
Ng noted that 55 years on, Peninsular Malaysia-based parties had been persistently breaching the terms of MA63, including those that were meant to protect the equal status of Sarawak and Sabah.
Citing the Territorial Sea Act 2012, Petroleum Development Act 1974 and stripping of the number of parliamentary seats reserved for Sarawak and Sabah, Ng said these were all breaches of MA63.
“Hence, I support the view of (former Sabah Chief Minister) Datuk Seri Yong Teck Lee and Sarawak for Sarawakians that Malayan parties should eventually get out of Sarawak and Sabah,” he said.
An online version of the UK Parliament Hansard when Lord Lansdowne made this statement on July 26, 1963 can be found at https://api.parliament.uk/historic-hansard/lords/1963/jul/26/malaysia-bill. — DayakDaily