By Peter Sibon
KUCHING, Feb 13: Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Mohd Shafee Apdal should not try to become the champion for Sarawak in its fight for greater autonomy under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) from Putrajaya.
He should, instead, just focus on Sabah’s rights, said State Reform Party (STAR) president Lina Soo.
She stressed that under MA63, it was obvious that Sarawak and Sabah were two of the signatories with two other parties, namely Malaya and Singapore in the formation of the Federation of Malaysia on Sept 16, 1963.
“So, I have to disagree with Shafie that Sarawak and Sabah is one Borneo territory, which is against MA63. If he wants to insist that Sarawak and Sabah is one indistinguishable territory, this means that he wants to amend MA63.
“To do that, he needs to bring the governments of Britain, Malaya (which represent the 9 Malaya states), Sarawak, Sabah and Singapore back to the negotiating table to amend MA63 and to change the structure of the Federation of Malaysia
“And Shafie should not try to be the champion for Sarawak. He should just focus on fighting for their own rights,” Soo told DayakDaily today.
She was referring to Shafie’s recent statement that all parties must support the government’s efforts to restore Sarawak and Sabah status as one territory, which he claimed has been stipulated in the (MA63).
Shafie had said the matter was discussed with Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad during a recent MA63 meeting.
“At that meeting, we brought up the status of Sabah and Sarawak as one territory. I am confident the federal government will approve this because it has been enshrined in the constitution and does not require any vote,” he told reporters after attending the Parti Warisan Sabah Chinese New Year celebrations at Tanjung Aru recently.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Liew Vui Keong, was also reported to have said that the government would come up with a motion in Parliament next month to restore Sabah and Sarawak status as one territory.
On Sept 16 last year, during the Malaysia Day celebration in Kota Kinabalu, Dr Mahathir had announced that the equal partner status of Sabah and Sarawak in Peninsular Malaysia would be restored.
Soo explained that in reading Annex A Part ll Section 1(3) of MA63, the implication is that the Borneo States as stated in (2) (b) include Sabah and Sarawak.
“Borneo States, as the grammar states, is plural and mean more than one State. A State with capital S means Nation, Country or Nation-State … it does not refer to ‘Negeri’, which means province, component or county of a unitary State,” she argued.
Soo added that in Part (3), it refers to the Borneo States (Sabah Sarawak) as “territories” of each of the States.
“The term “territories” seems to indicate the boundaries of the States before Malaysia Day, i.e. Sarawak and Sabah have their own separate and distinct boundaries pre-defined before the formation of Malaysia on 16/9/63,” she asserted. — DayakDaily