No necessity to render MA63 invalid as Sarawak rights firmly entrenched

David Hii

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KUCHING, Aug 23: The Sarawak Patriots Association (SPA) believes that there is no necessity to render the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) null and void.

Its secretary David Hii said the effect of MA63 is that it guarantees Sarawak as an equal partner in the formation of Malaysia with special safeguards to Sabah and Sarawak which were enshrined in the special provisions of MA63.

Hii, who is a practicing lawyer, was commenting on Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing’s remark, suggesting a new deal for the union for Malaya, Sarawak and Sabah.

Masing highlighted that an entirely new deal was needed for the three partners after the cessation of Singapore in 1965 as it had rendered the Federation of Malaysia as contained in MA63 null and void.

Referring to judicial cases which have been decided by the Courts in Malaysia, Hii explained that the inviolability of the IGC Report and MA63 were upheld in two Apex Courts, namely Pihak Berkuasa Negeri Sabah V. Sugumar Balakrishnan & another Appeal [2002] 4 CLJ 105 and Datuk Mohammad Tufail Mahmud & Ors V. Dato’ Ting Check Sii [2009] 4 CLJ 449.

“This means that there is a special law for Sabah and Sarawak which the Apex Court has recognised and that those special provisions are one of the terms of participation of Sabah and Sarawak in the formation of Malaysia,” he said in a media release.

He cited the case of Fung Fon Chen & Anor. v. The Government of Malaysia & Anor. [2012] 8 CLJ 706, in which Datuk David Wong Dak Wah (as he was then), who is now the Chief Justice of Sabah and Sarawak, held that any breach to MA63 affects the lives of all Sabahans and the basic structure of the Federal and State Government relationship upon which Malaysia was formed.

“Sabahans had every right to come to the court to ensure that assurances given by the signatories in the Agreement were adhered to. The assurances were promised to them and the rest of the population of Sabah and to hold that they had no locus standi defeated their constitutional right of access to the court,” he elaborated.

He emphasised that the signatories to the Agreement signed it as trustee to the people of North Borneo and Sarawak, the beneficiaries.

“The Court has recognised that the people of Sabah and Sarawak are ultimate beneficiaries to MA63 and that the people of Sabah and Sarawak have every right to come to the court to ensure that the assurances given in MA63 were adhered to,” he reiterated.

Bearing in mind that without the IGC, Cobbold Commission and MA63, Hii said there may not be a Malaysia today.

“The intention of MA63 was not to take away Sarawak’s rights. These rights were actually entrenched in the safeguards provided in MA63 and now is the time to honour and implement it,” he said.

He noted that there were 14 issues still require further discussion by the Special Cabinet Committee to Review MA63 which are expected to be resolved before Aug 31.

SPA thus urged for political differences to be set aside so that a resolution can be achieved as at the end of the day, it is the people of Sabah and Sarawak who will be affected by those decisions.— DayakDaily