KUCHING, April 16: The federal government is aware that the formation of Malaysia is flawed as the validity of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) is questionable. Hence, they recently tried to amend Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution with the hope of breathing life into it, claimed former Batu Lintang assemblyman Voon Lee Shan.
Voon, who is a practising lawyer, opined that without the MA63, Malaysia would not have existed, but “was the MA63 Treaty valid to create Malaysia?”
Many legal minds, he claimed, opined that the MA63 was not valid. One of the reasons is because it was based on the fraudulent and/or misleading Cobbold Commission Report.
“The several fundamental breaches of the MA63 Treaty also should lead to the treaty being void. It should also be considered repudiated after Singapore left Malaysia in 1965. If the MA63 Treaty was void ab intio or void, then Malaysia should not have been born or has to disintegrate,” he said in a press statement today.
He said records showed that the actual text of the Malaysia Agreement signed by the Federation of Malaya, the United Kingdom, Singapore, British North Borneo and Sarawak on July 9, 1963, covered four pages plus 11 annexes.
“Before MA63 Treaty was signed, there were worries among the British administrators as to who could sign the Malaysia Agreement,” he said.
He claimed that a record from the archives expressed that “… considerable concern had been expressed by British administrators as to who would sign the Malaysia Agreement which, strictly speaking, was a bilateral agreement between the UK and the Federation of Malaya.”
The then Sarawak attorney-general wrote, “Sarawak and North Borneo are not parties to the formal agreement and the undertakings etc., would be given to Britain rather than Sarawak and North Borneo. Logically and legally, therefore, it would be right to exclude them from the formal agreement, but from a presentational point of view, I think it is important …”.
“Sarawak’s colonial attorney-general at that time was P.E.H Pike. From Pike’s written comment, one could be of the opinion that although the MA63 Treaty led to the formation of Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak was not part of the Malaysia Agreement.
“Therefore, there are legal minds who opined that the MA63 Treaty is, in actual fact, an agreement between the UK and the Federation of Malaya only and that Sabah and Sarawak were not part of MA63 Treaty and, therefore, could not be binding on Sabah and Sarawak,” he reasoned.
If the formation of Malaysia is void, Voon said nothing could right the status of Sabah and Sarawak by amending Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution.
“Even if the MA63 Treaty was not void, the sincerity of the federal government to put back the status of Sabah and Sarawak to their original positions as countries is doubted,” he added.
Voon said he had attended the talk given by the Democratic Action Party (DAP) heavyweight lawyers and elected representatives on April 15 at Hui Sing Garden, where they argued that the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government was sincere in wanting to restore Sabah and Sarawak to their original positions at the time Malaysia was formed.
“They put the blame on our Sarawak government for not lending support to the amendment when the state government insisted certain words, that is ‘Pursuant to the Malaysia Agreement 1963’, be included in the amendment.
“The inclusion of these words was not acceptable by the federal government. No reason was given why the inclusion of these words was not acceptable to the federal government,” he said.
That night, Voon shared that members of the public had expressed their doubts to him as they viewed that if the PH government was sincere, there should not be a proposed re-amendment made before the bill was put into the debate.
“The bill was re-amended because many lawmakers objected to the original bill. The bill should have been carefully drawn, but it was not,” he remarked.
Even though the re-amended version of the proposed bill, in English, with exactly the same wording that appeared in the 1963 Federal Constitution, was shown on the big screen during the talk, Voon said it failed to convince the people who had spoken to him.
The Malay version of the proposed bill was not shown to the public.
“From the talk, it was quite obvious that the bill was rushed and the lawmakers in Parliament could not find time to seek opinions from legal minds before debating on the re-amended bill,” he said.
“A lawyer who was present with me voiced his concerns why there was no explanation by the DAP concerning the Malay version of the proposed amendment. The lawyer knew of a Malay version of the amendment to Article 1(2) using the words, ‘Negri-Negri Borneo, iaitu,…’..” he added.
Voon viewed that this surely was not consistent with the English version, but the DAP lawyers and lawmakers did not explain the inconsistency to the public.
“Such inconsistency can have very far-reaching political effect as it would put Sabah and Sarawak as states equivalent to any states in Malaya as originally intended in the pre-amended proposed Bill.
“Article 160B of the Federal Constitution states that, “…if there is any conflict or discrepancy between such national language text and the English language text of this Constitution, the national language text shall prevail over the English language text.”.
“There is no reason that the words, ‘Negri-Negri’ instead of ‘Negara-Negara’ were used in the Malay version. Therefore, is PH government sincere about this amendment?” he asked.
Voon noted that many believed the proposed amendment to Article 1(2) would be meaningless because the amendment would not mean that the federal government would give Sabah and Sarawak back their lost territories and oil and gas resources that were taken by the federal government. — DayakDaily