Get hold of copies of Malaysia Agreement, rights activist tell Sarawak YBs

Rights activist Lina Soo together with the books she wrote about Sarawak's rights and events leading to the formation of Malaysia. -

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KUCHING: Rights activist Lina Soo has urged Sarawak’s members of parliament and state assemblymen to read and understand the historical documents containing the terms and conditions that our forefathers had imposed before they agreed for Sarawak to be a party in the formation of Malaysia.

She said that they must get a copy of the Malaysia Agreement, Malaysia Act, Inter-Governmental Committee Report and Cobbold Commission Report for them to know the terms and conditions that Sarawak’s founding fathers had set out.

“Lack of knowledge on these documents by our past and present members of parliament and state legislation is the main reason why the state’s rights have been eroded and surrendered to the federal government,” she told reporters yesterday.

She said she does not know whether Sarawak’s elected representatives have copies of these documents, especially the Malaysia Agreement (MA63)

She said MA63 is an International Treaty, signed by five parties, namely Malaya, United Kingdom, Sarawak, Sabah and Singapore, and was registered with the United Nations.

She said there should not be any excuse for the elected representatives not to have copies of the historical documents for them to refer to when talking about Sarawak’s rights.

Lina said they must understand the contents of these historical documents so to fully equip themselves.

She said she is glad that former Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem was openly speaking about the state’s rights and he had taken some of these rights from the federal government.

Lina believed that Tok Nan was taking the cue from civil societies like Sarawak Association for People’s Aspirations and Sarawak For Sarawak (S4S) movement when he spoke about those rights.

“SAPA, for example, had been holding forums and holding press conferences on MA63 before Tok Nan became chief minister in 2014.

“SAPA was declared an illegal society and its registration with RoS was cancelled by the Home Ministry after we held a series of forums on MA63,” she said, adding that SAPA brought the matter to High Court which declared the ministry’s order as illegal.

Lina said the Court of Appeal upheld the decision of the High Court when dismissing the appeal by the Home Ministry.

According to her, the first violation of the MA63 was in 1965 when Singapore left the federation of Malaysia.

She said under MA63, the number of parliamentary seats from Sarawak and Sabah should make up one-third of the total number of seats in parliament while Malaya should not have more than two-thirds the number of seats in parliament.

But after Singapore left the federation in 1965, most of its parliamentary seats were taken by Malaya and only a few were given to Sarawak and Sabah.

Lina said as a result, Malaya has more than two-thirds seats in parliament.
“With more than two-thirds, the YBs from Malaya alone can pass any constitutional amendments to the Federal Constitution, even without the support from Sarawak and Sabah,” she said.

Lina said the inevitable came when the Federal Constitution Amendment Act354 Section 2 was passed in 1976 to reduce Sarawak status from one of three territories to one of 13 states, in violation of Article 1 of MA63.

“Other gross violations of MA63 which has reduced Sarawak’s rights and powers are the Petroleum Development Act which has usurped the ownership of our oil and gas resources, and the Territorial Sea Act which has reduced Sarawak waters to three nautical miles,” Lina said.

She believed that Malaya will push for more changes to the Federal Constitution, with or without Sarawak and Sabah’s support, given that it has more than two-thirds majority in parliament – a legal requirement needed to pass amendments to the Federal Constitution. –