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Saturday, July 30, 2016

REFORM wants pre-1976 status of Sabah, Sarawak restored

An amendment in 1976 to Article 1 of the Federal Constitution on the status of the Borneo nations violated an International Treaty.
lina-soo
KUCHING: An opposition party, a member of the newly-formed Gabungan Rakyat SakSaMa (SakSaMa), wants the Federal Government to get its priorities right on devolution and first restore the pre-1976 status of Sabah and Sarawak.
Instead, Putrajaya keeps talking about devolving administrative powers to Sabah and Sarawak, noted Lina Soo, President of the Sarawak Reform Party (REFORM). “Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak must be sincere on devolution.”
“He must honour the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) by repealing the amendment to Article 1.”
She lamented that Najib keeps referring to Sabah and Sarawak as “states” — they are nations — and hence the people have the right to doubt his commitment. “The commitment and sincerity on devolution and the return of autonomy must be genuine.”
The REFORM Chief, turning her attention to Sabah and Sarawak, urged the respective governments in Borneo to demand a return to the status before the pre-1976 amendment. “Sabah and Sarawak will be autonomous once more, once the amendment is repealed. They will have their rights and privileges restored.”
The restoration of their status, continued Soo, would mean that Sabah and Sarawak would be equal partners once more of Malaya in the Federation of Malaysia.
Soo was commenting on the Sarawak Government accepting the nation’s status and rights under MA63 “would take some time. “It was absurd and rather neglectful of the people of Sarawak.”
She urged the Sarawak Government to demand the immediate return of the nation’s rights, although these were “stolen one by one over the years”. “The culmination was the 1976 amendment to Article 1.”
In short, Soo was arguing against applying for the return of the nation’s rights under MA63. “Why should we apply to take back what is ours? Why not demand it back immediately?”
Applying for the return of the nation’s rights was like appealing to a person who stole “our things”, said Soo. “It seems that we are expected to obey if the person who stole our things says the time is not yet right (to return them).”
The Sarawak Government, she warned, would be failing in its duty to the people if it did not demand for the immediate return of the nation’s status and rights.
Briefly, an amendment to Article 1 of the Federal Constitution in 1976 reduced the status of Sabah and Sarawak to the 12th and 13th states in a Federation (Malaya). The two nations were equal partners of Malaya in the Federation of Malaysia before the amendment.
Malaysia, according to MA63, consists of three nations, not 13 states.
Without repealing the amendment, stressed Soo, any talk of devolution was mere political rhetoric. “The 1976 amendment was in violation of MA63.”
The Federal Constitution and Malaysian Parliament, said Soo, cannot violate MA63. She was referring to the fact that MA63 was an International Treaty signed by five nations, the United Kingdom, Sabah, Sarawak, Singapore and Malaya.

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