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Parliament wrong to reject review of Sabah, Sarawak in Malaysia
by Joe Fernandez
2013-11-06 11:31:02
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COMMENT In what could be considered an impolite written reply by the Parliament Secretary; the Malaysian Parliament this week rejected outright a call for a 40-year long delayed Review of the Status of Sabah and Sarawak in Malaysia. The two Borneo nations were virtually dragged by the British and the Malayans into a Federation with Malaya on 16 Sept, 1963, after they obtained their independence on 31 Aug, 1963 and 22 July, 1963 respectively.

The Parliament Secretary rubbished the call for the review as frivolous and a non-issue. The reply was in response to a written question by Penampang MP, Darrell Leiking, an Opposition member from Sabah.

The Parliament Secretary said Darrel had raised a matter that would “confuse, alienate and break hearts for the sake of explaining something that is superficial and frivolous”. It was also unreasonable to raise a non-issue “just to get opinions and feedback when the governing laws were not in question,” the reply states. Patently, it’s an understatement of the highest order to claim that the governing laws are not in question!

The written reply, understandably, has people fuming in the two Borneo nations. State Reform Party (Star) chairman, Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan for one, disclosed that he plans to raise the issue in the Sabah Legislative Assembly at the next opportunity. Jeffrey is the State Assemblyman for Bingkor.

One thinking is that both the Governments of Sabah and Sarawak – not state governments but actually equal to the Government of Malaya which is now calling itself the Government of Malaysia – with the Federal Government in Putrajaya. This is easier said than done. Putrajaya in fact has imposed a political structure in Sabah and Sarawak which is run by its proxies, their stooges and rogue elements. In return for a licence to be super corrupt, the local elites allow Putrajaya to plunder Sabah and Sarawak. The local elites have to also share their loot with the ruling elite in Malaya.

Sabah, Sarawak need to get away from the frying pan and the fire

The Federal Government has taken away the powers of the local and state governments. The Prime Minister has also taken away the powers of all the Ministers. Only the Prime Minister's Department in general and the Prime Minister in particular have any power. There’s a need to ensure that the Prime Minister paints himself into a corner. The recent Allah ruling – Christians cannot use the term Allah -- by the Court of Appeal is a case in point. The Government in Putrajaya needs to be cut down to the smallest size possible. One way is for the Indian Nation in Malaya to vote every term against whoever is in Putrajaya and all incumbent legislators, whether from the ruling party or the Opposition.

For starters, the people of the two Borneo nations in Malaysia should petition the King for a Royal Inquiry on the issue. If they are rejected, as they are likely to be on the advice of the Prime Minister to the King, it can’t be said that they failed for want of trying.
Going forward after 50 years of Malaysia, there’s a need for Sabah and Sarawak to focus on the secular nature of the Constitution -- Articles 3(1), 3(4), 11 and 12 to be read together -- and the wish of the people in Sabah and Sarawak to "stand on their own two feet". Sabah and Sarawak must also neutralize their local elites -- on both sides of the political divide -- before they break free of Malaya. Otherwise, they might be going from the frying pan into the fire or from the fire into the frying pan. But that’s another story.

British convinced Malaya would colonize Sabah and Sarawak after their departure

Meanwhile, activists in the two countries are petitioning the Queen in England, based on declassified documents, for a Royal Inquiry into the exact nature and circumstances of the British departure from Borneo.
The declassified documents revealed that the British were convinced that Malaya would colonize Sabah and Sarawak after they left Borneo but were nevertheless anxious to shed their defence burden outside the United Kingdom in the wake of World War II and the loss of Empire.

A Petition drafted by the UK-based Borneo’s Plight in Malaysia Foundation (BOPIM), and circulating in cyberspace for comments, reads:

“Your Majesty, Warmest Greetings from the People of Sabah and Sarawak in Borneo, Malaysia.

We, a coalition of Non-Governmental Organizations, representing the people of Sabah and Sarawak in Borneo, Malaysia, do hereby wish to bring to Your Majesty’s attention that the assurances, undertakings, recommendations and safeguards envisaged by Your Majesty’s Government in 1963 for the people of Malaysian Borneo have not been put in place by the Federal Government in Putrajaya even after 50 years of the Federation coming into being on 16 Sept, 1963.

Hence, we do hereby petition Your Majesty's Government to open a Royal Inquiry into the exact nature and actual circumstances surrounding the British departure from Sabah and Sarawak on 16 Sept, 1963.

This is also in view of the disturbing contents of declassified colonial documents on the issue.

These documents make it clear that the British were convinced that Malaya would colonize Sabah and Sarawak after their departure.

These revelations clearly demonstrate that your Majesty's Government abandoned Sabah and Sarawak, inadvertently or otherwise, to Malayan colonialism on 16 Sept, 1963. 

We hold respectfully that this is a violation of the UN Charter, the mandate of the UN Decolonization Committee, the UK's responsibilities as a permanent member of the UN Security Council and Your Majesty's stewardship of the Commonwealth.

The issue of colonization arises because Malaysia, in our considered opinion, was not properly set up by the British Government in particular and the UN in general.

The 50th year of Malaya in Sabah and Sarawak this year via Malaysia is a moment in history.

We need to bring closure to the British role in this unfortunate period in history and once again urge Your Majesty’s Government to open a Royal Inquiry into the exact nature and actual circumstances surrounding the British departure from Sabah and Sarawak on 16 Sept, 1963.

We offer our profuse apologies in advance if Your Majesty has been shocked in any way by either the nature or tone of this Appeal.

Rest assured that we have nothing but the utmost respect for Your Majesty and have followed your long reign with keen interest and affection.” . . .

No basis for Sabah, Sarawak to be in Malaysia or vice versa

BOPIM has also been circulating its take on the grinding poverty of Sabah and Sarawak “as a result of the colonial occupation by Malaya”. http://www.ovimagazine.com/art/10474

The bottomline, if a review of Sabah and Sarawak in Malaysia – or Malaysia/Malaya in Sabah, Sarawak -- is not held by the Federal Government, Parliament or the King, it will not be able to conclude that there’s no basis for Sabah and Sarawak to be in Malaysia or vice versa given the Federal Government’s non-compliance on the 20/18 Points and the 1963 Malaysia Agreement (MA63). The 20/18 Points, like MA63, are constitutional documents which are part of the assurances, undertakings, recommendations and safeguards for Sabah and Sarawak in the Federation of Malaysia.  

No 20/18 Points and MA63, no Malaysia.

The issues raised in the draft petition above to the Queen of England are self-explanatory.


Longtime Borneo watcher Joe Fernandez is a graduate mature student of law and an educationist, among others, who loves to write especially Submissions for Clients wishing to Act in Person. He also tutors at local institutions and privately. He subscribes to Dr Stephen Hawking’s “re-discovery” of the ancient Indian theory that “the only predictable property of the universe is chaos”. He feels compelled, as a semi-retired journalist, to put pen to paper -- or rather the fingers to the computer keyboard -- whenever something doesn't quite jell with his weltanschauung (worldview) or to give a Hearing to All. He shuttles between points in the Golden Heart of Borneo formed by the Sabah west coast, Labuan, Brunei, northern Sarawak and the watershed region in Borneo where three nations meet. He’s half-way through a semi-autobiographical travelogue, A World with a View . . . http://fernandezjoe.blogspot.com/


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