Sabah, Sarawak dancing to the wrong tune on MA63, says ex-rep

Voon Lee Shan

KUCHING, March 9: The calling for negotiations concerning the breaches of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) that now leads to the proposed amendment to the federal constitution has trapped Sabah and Sarawak to dance to the tune played by the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government.

Former Batu Lintang assemblyman Voon Lee Shan opined that laying out the negotiation table was a great achievement by Putrajaya because the federal cabinet knew the Federation of Malaya cannot survive economically if they lose Sabah and Sarawak.

This is because the Federation of Malaya depended very much on the oil and gas revenues from Sabah and Sarawak for its survival and development.

“The negotiation on the MA63 is not a negotiation between the three remaining signatories of the MA63 but a negotiation by the government of Malaysia, represented by the federal cabinet, with the governments of Sabah and Sarawak.

“How can the federal cabinet be given a right to represent the Federation of Malaya in the negotiation? This should be legally and politically wrong. This is because the federal cabinet was never a signatory of the MA63,” asserted Voon in a press statement today.

Voon added that Works Minister cum Selangau MP Baru Bian together with Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs cum Stampin MP Chong Chieng Jen were seen as representing the federal government instead of representing the government and people of Sarawak.

Being Sarawakians, he said their actions were a conflict of interest, and they might not be able to act objectively in the best interest of the people of Sarawak.

By coming to the negotiation table called by the federal government indicated that the Sarawak government had unconditionally accepted the fact that the MA63 was valid before coming to the negotiation table.

“This stand taken by the state government is against the legal and political opinions of a large section of Sarawakians. I had with many lawyers many times voiced our humble opinion that the MA63 caused by the breaches is void or void ab initio and the terms therein are not negotiable.

“Once there are fundamental breaches, it need not take a legally trained person to tell that the MA63 should be declared as void. In such a situation, the governments of Sabah and Sarawak should pressure the federal government to come with a joint declaration to declare MA63 as void,” said Voon, a veteran lawyer.

He said restoring the status of Sabah and Sarawak to their original positions by amending the federal constitution would not be able to solve the woes faced by the people of Sabah and Sarawak.

Even if the status is returned, Voon said the federal cabinet or government still could exercise much control that transgressed into the constitutional and political rights of the people of Sabah and Sarawak.

Powers are with them, and they can ignore the protections entrenched in the federal constitution.

“In the federal constitution, proper funds should be allocated to Sabah and Sarawak for development but the federal government had not done so in the past since the Federation of Malaysia came into existence. 

“Therefore, the spirit of equality and equal partnership between Sabah, Sarawak and the Federation of Malaya is an illusionary vision only,” he added.

In 2017, it was said Sarawak contributed RM110 billion in revenue, but, in the first ever budget by the PH government, Sarawak only got only RM4 billion back.

There is much dissatisfaction these days against the Federation of Malaya as a partner that the people of Sabah and Sarawak are calling to exit from the Federation of Malaysia.— DayakDaily