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Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Sabah, Sarawak need to work together on MA63, says analyst

 

Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar getting his instrument of office from the King as law minister. He can now help change laws to enforce the provisions of MA63, says James Chin. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: Both Sabah and Sarawak need to work together to preserve the rights of their people, especially when it comes to dealing with Putrajaya on the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), says an analyst.

James Chin of the University of Tasmania’s Asia Institute told a forum organised by the Sabah Action Body Advocating Rights (Sabar) that he noticed that the two states seemed to be at odds with one another.

This should not be the case, said the Sarawakian, as the two Bornean states had more similarities than differences.

Chin shared his own personal experience when he was announced as the main speaker for the forum, being told of queries from Sabahans asking why the organisers could not get a Sabahan to speak instead.

He said there was a need for a change in mindset and that Sabah and Sarawak must speak as a single voice, while launching a legal challenge on MA63 in the near future.

“The only authorities with locus standi to file a suit on the issue of MA63 are the Sabah or Sarawak state governments.

“This is because we don’t have a history of public interest litigation in Malaysia. But this doesn’t mean other groups won’t try to offer a legal argument and file a suit.

“However, I do want to see someone filing a suit over the matter to get the legal process off the ground,” he said.

Chin also said the time was ripe for the government to amend Articles 1(2) and 160(2) of the Federal Constitution, with Gabungan Parti Sarawak’s Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar appointed as the new law minister under Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s administration.

He also said the two state governments should find a way to teach more of Sabah and Sarawak history in schools, suggesting they produce their own textbooks on this subject.

He said it would be difficult to get the federal government to teach Sabah and Sarawak history.

“If the next generation does not support the uniqueness of Sabah and Sarawak and their history, then the current efforts will be wasted.”

He also said the issue of MA63 has become more of a mantra among political parties who would position themselves as champions of the matter without being able to get to the nitty-gritty.

“MA63 is now like a code word. If you want to call yourself a nationalist, you use MA63. It’s used for anything under the sun,” he said. - FMT

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