NGO questions if PM’s directive for immediate “implementation” of MA63 is political stunt

Robert Pei (file photo)

KUCHING, Jan 9: Is Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s directive for immediate “implementation” of Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) a political stunt?

Sabah Sarawak Rights Australia New Zealand (SSRANZ) president Robert Pei said it is impossible to immediately reinstate or implement many MA63 foundational terms and rights especially devolution of administrative powers and autonomy status, which have been removed since 1965 as pointed out by the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) and Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) governments.

“A number of legal matters must be resolved before implementation. Firstly, the federal and State governments should withhold action till March 2023, pending the Borneo High Court’s decision on the Writ on MA63 validity.

“Secondly, if MA63 is valid, there is the need to reinstate the treaty to its 1963 position by repealing all laws especially Act 354, that had illegally taken away Sabah and Sarawak’s entrenched constitutional rights and powers and the Petroleum Development Act 1974 (PDA74).

“This would most importantly, restore control of oil and gas resources, which is essential for the development of both states,” he said in a statement today.

Pei also questioned if the sudden haste to “implement MA63” was to “head off” the current Borneo High Court case in which 11 litigants are challenging the validity of MA63 and seeking compensation for loss and suffering arising from treaty breaches.

He said according to news reports, the Writ was filed in Dec 2022 against the governments of the United Kingdom, Malaysia and Sarawak, seeking declarations that MA63 was invalid and not legally binding as it was tainted by many illegalities and defects in violation of international law.

He asserted that even if MA63 had been validly made, it was never legally binding as it was not recognised by the Federal Constitution from 1963 till the 2021 amendment to acknowledge that Malaysia was set up pursuant to the treaty.

“This legal defect and the fact that MA63 and Malaysia were concluded under coercive emergency conditions, question whether Malaysia was legitimately constituted as a federation in 1963.

“Malaysia would be no more than a de facto federation in status,” he added.

Pei also opined MA63 was also rendered void by the UK’s failure to register the treaty with the United Nations from 1963 to 1970.

“Under Article 102(2) of the UN Charter, all UN members must promptly register a treaty after ratification and if not done, the treaty could not be invoked.

“If the treaty could not be invoked for 6 years, then all the actions done during that time in the name of Malaysia would be illegitimate and impact on the legal status and acts of Malaysia,” he said.

Pei also called on the Prime Minister and the Borneo State governments to firstly review the legal status of Sabah and Sarawak in the federation and many legal issues affecting Malaysia’s legitimacy, which they have a duty to resolved before further action on MA63.

“The Sarawak State government should also be transparent and hold public hearings on MA63 and disclose its London legal team’s findings on MA63,” he said. — DayakDaily