KUCHING, Dec 15: Sarawak and Sabah have the right to exit Malaysia and there’s nothing others can do about it, opines Parti Bumi Kenyalang (PBK) president, Voon Lee Shan.
“Malaysia is like a void marriage. If you know a marriage is void, you have a right to walk out of it and then get the court to declare it as void if you intend to remarry. Nothing your spouse can do even if you walk off.
“The union of Sabah and Sarawak is like walking into a toilet. No one can stop us from entering into a toilet but if the toilet is dirty or filthy, we have every right to get out of it.”
He made the comparison in a statement released in response to calls to clarify the stand taken by PBK concerning the difference between holdng an independence referendum as proposed by Sarawak Peoples’ Congress through a resolution and declaration on December 10, and the UDI route option favoured by PBK.
Holding a referendum is a legitimate procedures to gain independence under international law but it may not be suitable to Sabah and Sarawak for political and legal reasons, Voon opined.
According to him, the fact referendums were held instead of seeking a Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) depends on many legal and political considerations.
Voon cited examples of UDI other than Rhodesia’s UDI in 1956 including the UDI by the United States from Great Britain in 1776, the Irish declaration of independence in 1919 by a revolutionary Parliament, Katanga’s UDI by Moise Tshombe in July 1960 and the UDI of Egypt issued by United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on 28 February 1922.
He added that the Irish declaration of independence by the Irish Parliament is a precedent Sabah and Sarawak can follow.
“The Legislatures of Sabah and Sarawak can do it. No court should say it cannot be done. Likewise was Kosovo in 2008,” he claimed.
According to Voon, the UN International Court of Justice advised that Kosovo’s UDI from Serbia in 2008 was legal and within international law.
“Therefore, the unilateral declaration of independence can be made either by the colonies themselves or by their parent nations.
“Sabah and Sarawak are in a unique situation, different from those who got their independence by referendum in many ways. It is a suitable case for UDI because first, unlike UDI by Catalonia from Spain, there is no prohibition in the federal Constitution for Sabah and Sarawak to break away from the Federation; secondly, the suppression of economic and political rights are legitimate grounds under international law to exit; and thirdly, the formation of Malaysia did not follow customary international law and was against the rules and guidelines UN Resolution 1514 and 1541.”
Voon claimed that legal opinions on the formation of Malaysia hold that it was a fraud and if a referendum is the choice of the people, then the illegality of Malaysia’s formation is waived.
He opined that when a union is illegal, the state government is politically bound to declare it and use the declaration to exit.
Voon asserted that the Legislature is a law-making body and it is also a court where decisions are made.
“Legislature can also impose sanctions for breaches of Order or decisions. The Legislature can just decide. This will be a faster procedure to get out. Sarawak every day, is losing about RM285 million from the 60 oil wells pumped by Petronas as revenue to federal.
“These 60 oil fields are within 3rd nautical miles from the shores of Sarawak. From the 3rd to 12th nautical miles off Sarawak’s shores, it is speculated Sarawak has about 200 untapped oil fields.
“From other sources of revenue this loss could be in the region of about RM1 billion every day,” he lamented.
Voon asserted that if an independence referendum is a preferred strategy, there are many legal and political obstacles to it. There will be a delay to pass a referendum law and even pass, there will be no guarantee that a referendum is held soon.
“We cannot go for an independence referendum without a law for it because if we proceed, people who are not happy with it can file an injunction in court to derail it.
“Scotland under the Scottish National Party (SNP) is seeking a second referendum for independence and, likely, Mr Boris Johnson will not allow it.
“Delay to exit will cause much loss to Sarawak.” — DayakDaily