History notes that Umno had flouted every point in the Malaysia Agreement and royally screwed Sarawak and Sabah.
By Kik Tajue
The article ‘Umno needs to ‘colonise’ S’wak for continuity’ on Dec 29 written by Dr John Brian Anthony prompted me to write this.
Before we get down to the nitty gritty, let me say that Dr Anthony has made a small mistake in that Umno has, in fact, colonised Sarawak (and Sabah) since Malaysia came into being. We shall see this shortly.
But what is even more deplorable is that the two states have not just been colonised. They have in fact been cheated – and cheated in many ways.
Let us start from the beginning. (For our discussion, we shall ignore Singapore.)
The subject is actually very lengthy, but I shall try to be as brief by highlighting only the most salient points.
When Tunku Abdul Rahman approached the British government with the view to forming Malaysia, he was in fact in the midst of a negotiation with Diosdado Macapagal (then president of the Philippines) and Sukarno (then president of Indonesia) to form Maphilindo, a union of Malaya, the Philippines and Indonesia.
The British government cobbled together the Cobbold Commission to seek the views of the peoples of Brunei, Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore. After a whirlwind tour that lasted all of one month, the Commission reported that the peoples of those countries, except of Brunei, were in favour of forming the new confederation.
Bearing in mind the vastness of Sabah, Sarawak and Brunei combined (far bigger than Malaya), and the poor communication there, one fails to understand how the Commission could have done a proper job within such a short time.
Let us not forget that it had to check with Singapore, too.
Sukarno was incensed, and announced that he would crush Malaysia. Thus began his Konfrontasi, which started in 1962 and ended in 1966.
The most affected during the war was Sarawak and Sabah to a lesser degree. The effect on Johor and Singapore was negligible.
It was the British Army, with some Australian and New Zealand troops, that fought off the Indonesia Army.
The Malaysian Army from Malaya came only at the tail end of it, to carry out mop-up operations and to tackle the remaining communists.
When Sabah and Sarawak agreed to get together with the then Federation of Malaya (FOM) to form the confederation of Malaysia, it was on the understanding that the three entities would be equal partners.
Which means there would be only three horizontal stripes and three rays emanating from the star of the current flag.
Instead of treating the two states as equal partners, Umno has relegated them to the same position as the component states of the former Federated States of Malaya (FOM).
Sabah and Sarawak (which, for convenience, we shall henceforth refer to as ‘Borneo’) agreed to get together with the FOM to form the confederation of Malaysia subject to certain conditions.
These conditions are contained in the Eighteen-Point Agreement for Sarawak and Malaya and the Twenty-Point Agreement for Sabah and Malaya.
Umno has conveniently ignored and dishonored the Agreements. I am noting the salient points below:
While Islam would be the national religion of Malaysia, there should be no state religion in Borneo, and the provisions relating to Islam in the Constitution of Malaya should not apply to Borneo.
But Islam has been made the official religion of Borneo. As that is so, none of the natives, which form the majority of the population, and unless they are Muslims, nor any other non-Muslims can ever become the governor for the simple reason that the head of state must be a Muslim. Point 2
While Malay would be the national language of the Federation, English should be the official language of Borneo for all purposes, State or Federal, without limitation of time. Note that, please – without limitation of time.
Had this point not been ignored, Borneo would have been spared the Education Ministry’s odious policies.
In fact, Marcel Jude Joseph, a prominent lawyer in Sabah, has pointed out that even Section 17 of the Education Act 1996 does not state that Malay shall be the main medium of instruction and is the only medium of education.
Sometime in November 2011, he filed for judicial review to nullify the Education Ministry’s decision to abolish the PPSMI (Teaching and Learning of Science and Mathematics in English). Justice and right to self-determination
States that a new Constitution, the Constitution of Malaysia (or what we call the Federal Constitution), should be drafted. Although it would be based on the Constitution of the FOM, it must be a completely new document drafted and agreed in the light of a free association of states and should not be a series of amendments to a Constitution drafted and agreed by different states in totally different circumstances.
This has also been ignored. One concludes that some lazy people simply edited and cut and paste the Constitution of the FOM.
Indeed, even certain definitions or phrases are not right or show unfairness.
In Malaya, you are deemed a bumiputera if you speak Malay at home, practice Malay custom, culture and tradition, and you are a Muslim.
In Borneo, and if you are not a Muslim, you are deemed a bumiputera only if both your parents are natives. This has caused a lot of problems for native Borneans, especially those born of native and non-native parents. I am one of those adversely affected. My late mother was Chinese and late father was a native.
The phrase ‘High Court in the State’ as used in the Federal Constitution vis-a-vis the matter of language used in Borneo is another example of incompetency. It is misleading and meaningless.
There has never been a High Court of the State of Sabah, nor the High Court of the State of Sarawak.
The High Court has been known as the High Court of Borneo and, subsequently, as the High Court of Sabah and Sarawak.
Obviously, the person or persons who amended the Constitution of Malaya to produce the Federal Constitution were clueless and acted on their own without consulting their counterparts in Borneo. Point 11
Borneo should retain control of its own finance, development and tariff, and should have the right to work up its own taxation and to raise loans on its own credit.
Strictly speaking, this is not the case.
The then existing educational system of Borneo should be maintained and for this reason it should be under state control.
This is not the case, either. Education has been made a federal matter. If this point had not been ignored, Borneo would be fine and dandy today. Indeed, it was before the various hare-brained Malaysian Ministers of un-Education mucked up everything.
There are many other ways in which Umno has eroded the status of both the states and their non-Muslim peoples, but we shall stop here. Time to pull out
Besides dishonoring the Agreements and relegating Sabah and Sarawak to an inconsequential position, Umno has squeezed hundreds of billions of ringgit every year over the last forty years from the petroleum resources of the two states to squander on grandiose projects in Malaya and to enrich the Umnoputras.
Someone has compiled no fewer than 65 instances of substantial leakages over the last decade alone.
Other natural resources mainly in the forms of lumber and land, on the other hand, are gobbled up by BN politicians in the two states.
But go to the rural areas in the two states now, and you will find deplorable conditions, still poor communication, villages with no water and electricity, ad infinitum.
Only about three months ago, an English daily reported of a woman living in Kuching city who had only one bra costing RM10. She and her family had moved from the rural areas to the city in the hope of finding employment – and ended up having to live in a miserable squatter area instead.
And thousands of Sarawakians have left to work in Singapore and Johor because they could not find a job in their own state.
If Pakatan Rakyat will stick to its promises should it trounce Umno in the next general election, it is the only entity that can save the ordinary Sabahans and Sarawakians.
The only other viable option is for the two states to pull out from Malaysia altogether. This move is highly recommended.
Yes, Point 7 (of the Agreement) says there should be no right to secede from the Federation. But the Federal government, in the form of Umno, has not honoured the Agreement. As that is the case, that particular point can be ignored by the peoples of Sabah and Sarawak, too.
If you are interested to see the complete Agreement, you can go to sarawakheadhunter.blogspot.com. It can be found about one-quarter down the page.
Dr Azmi Sharom has written an interesting article, Broken Promises: The Malaysian Constitution and Multiculturalism. Google can point you to the various sites where it can be found.
Kik Tajue lives with his 3-year old Rottweiler on a mountain outside Kuching while writing a book. He reads FMT daily.