In Part III of this series which is continued in Part IV, I mention the following:
“Given the Kangkung Minister, the Kangkung professors and Kangkung little Napoleons sent to Sabah and Sarawak to find solutions to the impasse – obviously you will get Kangkung results. No one from Malaya is qualified to resolve the issue in Sabah and Sarawak – including Idris Jala, Wan Junaidi, Anifah Aman, Rahman Dahlan or Shafie Apdal. As far as the people in Sabah and Sarawak are concern those Sabahans and Sarawakians from Kuala Lumpur are tainted with Malaya disease. Except for Sarawak, there are no leaders in Sabah who is acceptable as well to the people.”
In Part IV I refute the argument made by a Constitution Expert a former Law Professor from the International Islamic University who claims that Sabah and Sarawak cannot leave Malaysia because of Article 2 of the Malaysia Constitution. Today I have no choice but to rebut a statement made by the Minister who asserts that talking about seceding from Malaysia is seditious under the Malaysia law and that Sabah and Sarawak cannot secede from Malaysia. I think all these people just want to best each other as to how ridiculous they can get compared to the other.
As I have explained in Part IV that anyone who wants to talk about the Malaysia Agreement 1963 without showing their own stupidity must at least read the following primer:
- The Cobbold Commission Report 1962
- The Inter-Government Committee Report (IGC) 1963
- The Malaysia Agreement 1963
There are 2 things that everyone must learn from the IGC. Firstly, the IGC is where 5 political parties from Sabah submitted their memorandum on the 29th August 1962. Today this memorandum is commonly known as the 20 points. Please observe the 20 points is a memorandum and NOT an agreement as asserted by the Minister. As a memorandum the 20 point document was submitted to the IGC for consideration by the committee members.
The IGC was headed by Lord Lansdowne the British Minister of State for Colonial Affairs. Its tasks was “to work out the future constitutional arrangements, including safeguards for the special interest of North Borneo and Sarawak to cover such matters as religious freedom, education, representation in the Federal Parliament, the position of the indigenous races, control of immigration, citizenship and the State Constitution”. Therefore, the 20 points memorandum was incorporated into the IGC report. The IGC report has 37 points and NOT just 20 points.
Based on the above, the IGC report is the framework to formulate the Malaysia Agreement 1963. Please bear in mind that the IGC is NOT the Malaysia Agreement 1963, this is just a report and accepted by the governments. The IGC has similar function to the Reid Commission which drafted the Constitution for the Federation of Malaya. The IGC report was accepted and signed on the 27th February 1963 by the United Kingdom, North Borneo, Federation of Malaya and Sarawak
Secondly, the 20 point memorandum submitted by the 5 political parties contain a secession clause which is point No. 7. In this clause it was specified that there shall be no secession which means that Sabah cannot secede from Malaysia. However, the issue of secession was not included in the IGC report. The reason given by Lord Lansdowne was that “any State voluntarily entering a federation had an intrinsic right to secede at will, and that it was therefore unnecessary to include it in the Constitution”. Basically what it means here is that Sabah and Sarawak is free to form Malaysia, it is also therefore free to leave.
I hope the above explanation is sufficient to clear any confusion about the content and usage of terms pertaining to the Malaysia Agreement 1963. It is an embarrassment and shameful to see, read and hear Ministers, Professors and ordinary man in the street talking about the formation of Malaysia without them really knowing what the subjects is all about.
There is also nothing seditious to talk about secession, these are real issues based on the IGC, the Malaysia Agreement 1963 and after five decades of forming Malaysia. These are options available to the people in Sabah and Sarawak to avoid these discussions then all the government need to do is simply fulfill its obligations as per the agreement, to paraphrase Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud – nothing more, and nothing less.
Zainnal Ajamain is an economist by profession, graduating with a Masters degree from the University of East Anglia. He has held several high ranking civil service positions in government and government think tanks and has worked as a university lecturer, senior researcher, stockbroker, and economist and published several papers in international media journals. He was the co-author behind the Sabah Government’s vision for development and progress in the Sabah Development Corridor and created the first Offshore Islamic Fund in Labuan. He also held the position of Senior Research Fellow in the Centre for Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Systems at the University Malaysia Sabah. He was the Co-Founder of the United Borneo Front (UBF) and a passionate activist to abolish the Cabotage Policy. He is also the Secretary General of a newly formed political party in Sabah.