Make public MA63 Cabinet Special Committee final report — Sapa, NGOs

Dominique Ng (file photo).

KUCHING, Aug 17: Sapa and several NGOs have jointly rebuked and called on the federal, Sarawak and Sabah governments to make public the final report of the Cabinet special committee review of the implementation of MA63 and also to officially publish all declassified British colonial documents relating to the MA63 treaty and the formation of Malaysia.

“What is so sensitive and damaging to the federation that the review has been made a state secret which must not be disclosed to ordinary citizens?” asked Sarawak Association for People’s Aspiration (Sapa) president Dominique Ng.

His statement was supported by several NGOs and political parties including Parti Bumi Kenyalang, Persatuan Etnik Dayak Asal Sarawak, Dayak Rights Action Force, Sarawak, Sabah Rights Australia New Zealand, Borneo’s Plight in Malaysia Foundation, Terabai Kenyalang Heritage Association of Sarawak, Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak Baru, Persatuan Pewaris Kedayan Jati Mierek Padang Kerbau Daerah Miri, Dayak International Organisation of the United States, United Varsity Students of Borneo, Sabah Sarawak Borneo Natives Organisation Inc Australia and Republic of Sabah North Borneo.

Ng was referring to a Bernama report on 29 July 2020 citing Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Sabah and Sarawak affairs) Datuk Hanifah Taib as saying the review report would not be made public because the document has been classified as “official secret” under the Official Secrets Act 1972.

“For the moment, the government maintains its stand that there is no need for the final report to be distributed to the public as the content is technical in nature and involves sensitive matters,” Hanifah was quoted as saying.

Meanwhile, on Aug 10, Hanifah was also quoted as saying that there was no need to set up a Parliamentary committee to monitor the implementation of Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) with Sabah and Sarawak. She said a “special council” would instead be set up to review the implementation of MA63.

Ng opined this lack of transparency was holding the Sarawak and Sabah peoples’ right to know in utter contempt, as the whole reason for the so-called review was aimed at restoring Sarawak and Sabah’s MA63 rights, special powers and position in the federation.

“These treaty rights had been willfully violated by non-implementation and or terminated wholesale by the federation. The fact that the Sarawak and Sabah and federal governments have to “renegotiate” MA63 was an acknowledgement of federal wrongdoing in not faithfully complying with the international treaty,” he asserted.

He added MA63 was registered by the United Kingdom in 1970 as an international treaty with the United Nations and this means the agreement is governed by international law. All amendments including constitutional alterations to MA63 must be viewed as null and void unless done in accordance with the treaty-making rules. He put forward the only time MA63 was legally amended was changing the date for Malaysia Day in the agreement from Aug 31, 1963 to Sept 16, 1963.

“The federal and Sarawak and Sabah governments have a duty to truthfully report on the MA63 review to the people. The question being asked is — ‘What and why are they hiding from the people whose lives have been most negatively impacted on by the 57 years in the federation?’

“This appalling lack of accountability and responsibility only generates further popular loss of faith in the federal and Sarawak governments whom the people suspect are colluding to hide the truth about MA63 from them,” Ng opined. — DayakDaily