Secession talk not seditious, maintains Parti Bumi Kenyalang chief

Voon Lee Shan

KUCHING, July 5: `There is no decided case in Malaysia to say that talking or speaking about independence or cessation is seditious or is against the law’.

Parti Bumi Kenyalang (PBK) president Voon Lee Shan Voon said this in response to what Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said on how far the Sedition Act 1948 could be applied against those who call for the secession of Sarawak, and if such secession is allowed by the Federal Constitution and Malaysia Agreement 1963.

Voon, who is a practising lawyer, opined that what is seditious is not defined in the Sedition Act 1948; therefore, what is seditious is very subjective.

“We have to be guided by decided cases,” he said.

Voon claimed many legal experts opined that the Sedition Act is only applicable to seditions or seditious materials against own country.

Sabah and Sarawak are countries of their own right before they became part of Malaya, he argued.

“The issue now is that is Malaysia a country? It is clear that nothing is mentioned in the Federal Constitution to say that Malaysia is a country. The constitution only says Malaysia is a federation comprising Sabah and Sarawak and states of Malaya,” he opined.

According to Voon, it is also an unacceptable fact for Malaya to claim that Sabah and Sarawak were acquired as part of Malaya, with Malaya taking a new name Malaysia after Sept 16, 1963.

The change of name of Malaya to Malaysia is recorded in the United Nations Juridical Yearbook 1963, he said.

“Coming back to what Dr Mahathir said, I am here to say even though there is no provision under the Federal Constitution, the Malaysia Agreement 1963 or the Inter-Governmental Committee Report that touched on any rights by Sabah and Sarawak to secede from Malaysia, there is nothing in the Federal Constitution, being the supreme law of the land, to prohibit Sabah and Sarawak to seek exit from the Federation of Malaysia.

“When nothing is prohibited by law, it is a principle of law that anything done not prohibited by law is legal,” he reckoned.

Voon maintained that under international law, there is intrinsic right for colonies or a region of a country to break away from the parent country or region if they are subjected to political suppression, oppression and domination by the parent country or region.

They have a right to seek independence under International law if economic and political differences could not be resolved with the parent region or parent country, he said

Voon further pointed out that Lord Lansdowne, the chairman of the Inter-Governmental Committee, had said exit clause is not necessary because the right to enter into the federation comes with the right to exit at any time.

“There is no need to seek permission to exit if differences could not be resolved. Singapore kicked out itself from the Federation of Malaysia in 1965 on these grounds,” he asserted. — DayakDaily