Putrajaya’s sleight of hand on equal status Bill worked — ex-rep

Voon Lee Shan

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KUCHING, April 11: The federal government has succeeded in diverting the attention of the people by giving the impression that the amendment to Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution was a sincere attempt to put Sabah and Sarawak in equal status with the Federation of Malaya, opined Parti Bumi Kenyalang legal advisor Voon Lee Shan.

Voon, who is former Batu Lintang assemblyman, said because of the proposed amendment, the people of Sabah and Sarawak were kept busy debating on it.

“The federal government knew that the people of Sabah and Sarawak were unhappy that many rights in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) had been watered down and or not been implemented, and it was for this reason, the proposed amendment was tabled,” Voon said in a statement today.

The attention of the public was on MA63, and in past months, Voon believed the federal government was able to craftily draw the attention of the public that MA63 had indeed been breached and there was a need to rectify this.

He added that the only way to do this was to amend Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution, but by amending Article 1(2) alone had caused much anxiety and dissatisfaction among the people of Sabah and Sarawak.

“Their dissatisfaction had in past months led to their voices to call for independence much louder. When the people of Sabah and Sarawak were drawn into debates about MA63 and the proposed amendment of Article 1(2), sadly most of them forgot to look into the legality of the formation of Malaysia in their debates.”

There were only a handful of people who debated on the legality of the formation of Malaysia.

He added that since the legality of Malaysia was questionable, the people of Sabah and Sarawak should have pressed the governments of Sabah and Sarawak to get the federal government conduct a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) into the issue.

He further explained that if the inquiry truly finds the formation of Malaysia had not been properly constituted in accordance with international law, the people should pressure the governments of Sabah and Sarawak to seek the federal government to declare the formation of Malaysia void.

“Again, even if the formation of Malaysia was proper, there is nothing to prevent Malaysia to disintegrate or be declared void if it could be found that there are fundamental breaches of the MA63.

“Indeed, the federal government, by its own admission by wanting to put Sabah and Sarawak back into their original positions as mentioned in MA63 is enough to show that there had been fundamental breaches of MA63.”

Once declared void, parties thereafter, if they desire, can decide how to work out a new political identity or union.

Although the federal government could not have the amendment passed by Parliament, the Federation of Malaya had nothing to lose.

“This is because, in either way, whether Articles 1(2) of Federal Constitution is amended or not, the Federation of Malaya still has its imperialism strategies over Sabah and Sarawak intact,” he said, adding that without any intention to amend other provisions in the constitution giving equal voice in Parliament to Sabah and Sarawak, the impression of many people of Sabah and Sarawak is that Sabah and Sarawak are colonies of the Federation of Malaya and that exit or independence from the Federation of Malaysia is the best solution.

At the moment, the combined parliamentary seats held by Sabah and Sarawak are less than one-third of the 222 seats in Parliament.

The inequality of seats cannot give rise to the equal partnership, even if the equal status for Sabah and Sarawak could be restored, Voon said.

He added that Parti Bumi Kenyalang had heard the voices of the people seeking independence from the Federation of Malaysia and would contest in the coming state election seeking independence for Sarawak. — DayakDaily