KUCHING, April 4: The Pakatan Harapan (PH) government has been successful in its effort to get the governments of Sabah and Sarawak to fall into its “political trap” to come to the negotiation table by amending Article 1(2) of the federal Constitution, claims former Batu Lintang assemblyman Voon Lee Shan.
Voon, who is also a political activist, said both state governments were not wise by not setting the ground rules before coming to the negotiation table.
“Since the federal government is seeking to amend the federal constitution, the state governments of Sabah and Sarawak should seize this opportunity to force the federal government to determine the legality of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) before talking about the terms entrenched in MA63.
“By wanting to amend the federal constitution with the view of putting Sabah and Sarawak as equal partners with the Federation of Malaya shows that the federal government is admitting that there were breaches of the terms entrenched in MA63,” Voon said in a statement yesterday.
By so doing, he opined that the federal government was also admitting that Sabah and Sarawak had not, since Malaysia came into being, been treated as equal partners within the Federation but as colonies of the Federation of Malaya.
Voon added that it is a fact known to the public now that Sabah and Sarawak were acquired by the Federation of Malaya from Britain to enlarge the territory of the Federation of Malaya, which then took a new name, the Federation of Malaysia on Sept 16, 1963, after a notification of this change of name was given by Dato Ong Yoke Lin of the Federation of Malaya to the United Nations.
“Therefore, Malaya is Malaysia and Malaysia is Malaya”.
This fact pointed to the perception of the general public that Sabah and Sarawak indeed are annexed territories of Malaya as its colonies, he said.
“The breaches should be taken by the state governments of Sabah and Sarawak to force the federal government to consider MA63 as void.
“Since this was not done, there is suspicion among Sabahans and Sarawakians that there could be horse trading or hanky-panky things going on between the state governments of Sabah and Sarawak and the federal government, which warrants the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and NGOs to step in to monitor the situation for the good of Malaysia,” Voon suggested.
A survey had been made by a political party and by some individuals, he claimed. They found that people were also not happy of the lack of transparency by the federal government concerning the draft of the Bill for the amendment.
Due to the lack of transparency, Voon stressed that there is no reason for PH Members of Parliament (MPs) from Sarawak to insist MPs from Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) to agree to support the Bill.
He added that suspicions arise in the mind of many people that these MPs could probably receive “special bonus” for campaigning or for seeking MPs from GPS to agree to the amendment without viewing the contents of the draft for the amendment.
“Since the PH government is not transparent in its dealings with us concerning the amendment to Article 1(2), the state governments of Sabah and Sarawak should direct and or to persuade all MPs from both states, including MPs from PH, to boycott the sitting in Parliament when the Bill is tabled.
“Non-transparency is against the rule of democracy. By calling the boycott, the people of Sarawak can identify for themselves the traitors of our sovereign right once the Bill is tabled and debated,” he said.
The boycott could force the federal government to abandon or withdraw the Bill if the federal government realises that Parliament lacked the two-thirds majority to pass the Bill.
If the federal government insists thereafter to amend the constitution, ground rules should be set by both state governments before reconsidering the matter again.
Voon also asked, “How can an MP be able to get feedback from their constituents on such an important constitutional matter when things are not transparent?
“By disallowing copies of the draft Bill to the amendment of the federal constitution to be seen and studied before being tabled, coupled with the mistreatment by the federal government since the Federation of Malaysia came into being, both state governments of Sabah and Sarawak should take into consideration our right to exit from the Federation of Malaysia,” he said.
The state government should hear the voices echoed in the Sarawak Parliament (Council Negri) in September 1962 by the past leaders such as G.W Geikie, Yeo Cheng Ho and Tra Zehnder on Sarawak’s rights to exit from Malaysia.
The state government should also be minded that a recent survey in a major town and cities in Sarawak by a local political party showed that most people, due to inequality of treatment and loss of revenues from our oil and gas resources to the federal government, prefer Sarawak to exit from the Federation of Malaysia, he said.
The state government may also wish to be guided by the opinion of the United Nations International Court of Justice (ICJ), which states that the unilateral declaration of independence by Kosovo from Serbia was legal.
“Hisashi Owada, the president of ICJ said international law contained, “no prohibition on the declaration of independence” and the declaration of independence by Kosovo “did not violate international law.”
Taking this ICJ opinion as a guide, the state government should have the courage to declare Sarawak independence before venturing into any further dealing in all political matters with the Federation of Malaya,” Voon said.— DayakDaily