Seek court declaration on MA63 validity, NGOs tell fed govt

From left: Daniel John Jambun, Dominique Ng and Robert Pei.

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KUCHING, Oct 10: Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are urging the federal government to release and submit the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) report to the United Nations (UN) and United Kingdom (UK) to seek a court declaration on its validity.

In a joint statement today, the NGOs said Malaysia has a treaty obligation to submit a report on MA63 to the UN and also to the British government which has maintained a continuing interest in the progress of Sabah and Sarawak in Malaysia as they were involved in their ‘decolonisation’.

“This treaty obligation arose from the Manila Accord 1963 term agreed to by the Malayan government, that the British transfer of North Borneo and Sarawak to the federation of Malaya was made conditional on the outcome of a pre-Malaysia UN assessment of their people’s wishes.


“Following the assessment, the UN had endorsed Malaysia which was established pursuant to MA63 and subject to a review of MA63 being made in 1973. This means that the UN had a continuing interest in how the decolonisation has worked out.

“The review was however abandoned by the federal government under flimsy excuses, denying the people and the UN the right to re-examine their continuing membership in the federation.

“They are therefore now fully entitled to know what the report says, especially when there has been multiple fundamental breaches of MA63 by alterations of foundational terms and failure to faithfully implement the treaty and that Malaysia has proven to be a total failure and did not benefit the two countries (North Borneo and Sarawak),” the NGOs said.

At the same time, the NGOs took note that the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Dato Sri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar was recently reported as saying that a bill to amend the Federal Constitution to bring relevant provisions in line with MA63 is expected to be tabled in Parliament before the end of the month.

They noted the minister in a separate report also said the reinstatement of MA63 rights requires an extensive engagement exercise with key stakeholders, namely the Members of Parliament (MPs) as well as the rakyat (people).

Following this, the groups called on the minister to immediately make public the MA63 report and delay any reading of the bill pending completion of the extensive consultations.

“It was only right that the government should also fully consult and seek the rakyat’s mandate and it should not just be a token exercise.

“NGOs and opposition political parties should also be included as they are groups of concerned citizens with legal standing and every right to be consulted on MA63 issues,” they added.

The groups also said there is a need to address many legal issues which would arise if any attempt is made to amend MA63 or just to amend laws altering the Federal Constitution done since 1965.

“First and foremost, if MA63 was validly signed and sealed, there is no further reason to ‘negotiate’ its terms other than to implement them! The amendment of an international treaty requires the agreement of all signatory parties.

“The reinstatement of MA63 rights can only be achieved by repealing all illegal constitutional amendments to MA63 terms and conditions from 1965 and make compensation and damages for all unlawful breaches,” they added.

The joint statement was signed by Sarawak Association for Peoples’ Aspiration (Sapa) president Dominique Ng, Sabah Sarawak Rights Australia New Zealand (SSRANZ) president Robert Pei and Borneo’s Plight in Malaysia Foundation Sabah president Daniel John Jambun as well as endorsed by 40 other NGOs, individuals and political parties. — DayakDaily