This article is for general informational purposes only and is not meant to be used or construed as legal advice in any manner whatsoever.
It’s not surprising, as noted by former
Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, that people are talking as if Sabah and
Sarawak are not in Malaysia.
COMMENT If we say that former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad isn’t really
familiar with 1963 whereby North Borneo and Sarawak came together with Malaya,
merged with Singapore,
to form an Equal Federation of the two Borneo Nations and the peninsula, no one
is likely to believe us. However, given Mahathir’s reported remarks on
Wednesday in the media on Sabah and Sarawak, where he blamed Putrajaya for the "unrest" in the two Borneo nations, it would be safer to conclude that the former
Prime Minister, far from being not up to speed, was indeed very much aware on
that score, but prefers to be driven by a “collective amnesia” like many in the peninsula and perhaps not a few in Sabah and Sarawak as well.
If everyone is talking as if Sabah and Sarawak were not part of
Malaysia, it’s not due to weakness on the part of the Federal Government in
Putrajaya as alleged by Mahathir, but far from it, due to him and his
predecessors being not only in non-compliance on the Federation of Malaysia Agreement
1963 (MA63), as alleged numerous times by Sabah rights advocate Jeffrey
Kitingan, but in fact even violating it, as charged by his furious former aide
Phillip Among over coffee at McDonald’s in Kota Kinabalu.
MA63 is an International Treaty
recognized by the United Nations, and the governments of the United Kingdom, North Borneo, Sarawak,
Singapore, Brunei and Malaya.
MA63 cannot be amended by the Malaysian Parliament.
It’s also an Instrument of Trust Deed lodged with the
United Nations. This means the Federation of North Borneo and Sarawak with Malaya is not "permanent". It can be terminated
at any time by the Governments of North Borneo and Sarawak.
It’s like a child coming of age when he turns 18 or 21 as the case may be – 18
at the Public Trustee and 21 to be eligible to vote – and having the luxury of
deciding whether to move out of the parent’s home or staying with them.
of today is not the Malaysia
mentioned in MA63. The interpretation of Federation under Article 160 of the
Federal Constitution clearly states that the Federation is based on the
Federation of Malaya Agreement 1948, reinforced by the Federation of Malaya
Independence Act 1957.
Sabah and Sarawak
are not signatories to the Federation of Malaya Agreement 1948 and are not
covered by the Federation of Malaya Independence Act 1957.
Yet, after Singapore
ended its merger with Malaya in 1965 and exited the Federation, Sabah and
Sarawak were reduced in status -- via an amendment to the Federal
Constitution -- from being Equal to Malaya
to being in the same category as the states in the peninsula and designated the
12th and 13th states. It would be more accurate to
say that Sabah and Sarawak are nations in the
Federation while the others are states.
The MA63 decides. It’s up to the Governments of Sabah and Sarawak to exercise their Full Autonomy status in MA63.
They don’t have to ask from Putrajaya something that already belongs to them.
If the Sabah and Sarawak Governments want to keep on the "safe" side, they can wait for the Sabah and Sarawak Assemblies to
pass a motion on the matter.
Picture Credit: charleshector.blogspot
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