MA63 drafted based on flawed Cobbold Commission Report, argues ex-rep

Voon Lee Shan - file pic

KUCHING, Oct 19: The inquiry by the Cobbold Commission prior to the formation of Malaysia revealed that out of the less than one per cent of Sarawakians interviewed, one-third agreed to the formation, one-third disagreed and one-third doubtful.

Thus, former Batu Lintang assemblyman Voon Lee Shan argued that the Cobbold Commission Report was misleading and should not be used to draft the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) for the formation of the Federation of Malaysia.

“MA63 should be declared null and void ab intio because it was based on a misleading report of the Cobbold Commission to the British government at that time,” he said in a press statement today.

The effect of any null and void agreement, he said, could not be used to form a binding contract, be it an agreement like MA63.

“Malaysia should not be formed based on a void MA63. MA63 is an international treaty, which should be perfectly drafted and should not be based on a misleading finding or information,” he stressed.

He pointed out that only about 4,000 of the 700,000 people of Sarawak were interviewed at that time, to assess their views on whether they wanted Sarawak to be included in the formation of Malaysia.

“With only less than one per cent of the people being interviewed, the 4,000 odd people could not represent the voice of the whole Sarawak at that time,” he reckoned.

Voon, who is a lawyer, noted that the federal government wanted to rectify the wrongs caused by the Cobbold Commission and was trying to convince the people of Sabah and Sarawak that MA63 was a valid agreement.

The formation of Malaysia, he stressed, had not benefitted the people of Sabah and Sarawak, especially when both Borneon states, which were sovereign nations before Malaysia, had been reduced in status to states only.

The federal government, he observed, wanted to overcome the unhappiness of the people of Sabah and Sarawak by first amending Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution by putting back the status of Sabah and Sarawak from states to rightful status as nations of their own within the federation.

“The federal government argued that the erosion of rights of people of Sabah and Sarawak as entrenched in MA63 could not be rectified unless the Constitution is amended. But what have we to rectify when the legality of the formation of Malaysia is questionable?

“Even if MA63 had been legally passed or constructed, the several fundamental breaches of MA63 by the federal government had made Malaysia no more a sensible political union between Sabah and Sarawak with the Federation of Malaya,” he opined.

The governments of Sabah and Sarawak, Voon advised, should not be trapped by the call of the federal government through de facto Law Minister Liew Vui Keong, a Sabahan, to go to the negotiation table to review and rectify the loss or erosion of rights caused by the federal government as entrenched in MA63.

“To put all things right that went wrong since 55 years ago may take 55 years or longer to undo,” he reminded.

However, since there was an admission of erosion of rights of people of Sabah and Sarawak by the federal government, he said this perhaps could be a good ground to sue the federal government for the loss caused till now.

“Since MA63 should be flawed, the UK government should be responsible for the loss incurred by the people of Sabah and Sarawak,” he said.

Voon, thus, urged the Sarawak government to sue the UK and federal government for the loss incurred by the people of Sarawak.

“Such a legal process is possible because if Hindraf (Hindu Rights Action Force) could do it or file such suits in the UK, there is no reason the Sarawak government could not do it,” he said. — DayakDaily