No need law, approval to hold Sarawak independence referendum

Soo (seated, second right) in a photo with other members holding placards with messages about Sarawak independence referendum.

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By Malcolm Lau

KUCHING, Dec 24: Sarawak does not need a referendum law or permission from the federal government to allow a peaceful and free vote on whether Sarawakians deserve the right to self-determination to proceed.

Highlighting this, State Reform Party (Star) president Lina Soo cited the case of the United States which has no referendum law yet the first independence referendum was held in Massachusetts in 1788.

“Norway has no referendum law but held independence referendum in 1905, in which 99.5 per cent voted to dissolve the union with Sweden. The case was similar for Indonesia in which West Papua and Timor-Leste held regional independence,” she said in a press statement today.

As for the United Kingdom (UK) which also has no referendum law, Soo elaborated that to hold a referendum each time, an Act of Parliament will be passed to set out the referendum question, the format, the franchise, how each vote will be conducted and whether the result will be binding or not.

“The Venetian Independence Referendum was conducted online by a private organisation and it was an unofficial independence referendum conducted without the cooperation of the Italian and Venetian governments,” she added.

Soo pointed out that Sarawak will choose its future because the right to self-determination is human right codified in United Nation (UN) Charter Article 1(2) 1945.

“UN Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 1966 where the permanent population within a defined territory can determine its political status,” she said.

However, Soo emphasised that the 12th State Election is the opportunity for Sarawakians to vote in and elect pro self-determination lawmakers who can propose the Sarawak Independence Referendum Ordinance in the Sarawak Parliament.

“If the bill is passed, the Sarawak government can conduct the referendum process, constitutionally and peacefully,” she added.— DayakDaily