Separatist tendencies in Sabah put Putrajaya on edge
Written by Joe FernandezTuesday, 08 October 2013 16:15
Hardly three years after the World Bank used Malaysian government figures to underline in Kota Kinabalu in Dec 2010 that Sabah and Sarawak were the poorest states in Malaysia, “I am Malay First” Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin turned up in the Sabah capital on Mon 30 Sept and declared that “Malaysia has been a blessing – in disguise? -- to the Bumiputera”. No mention of the so-called non-Bumiputera.
The last time that anyone checked the figures, these two nations in Borneo were still the poorest in Malaysia. If something is a “blessing” in disguise, then one is merely indulging in wishful thinking to console oneself on a negative situation and living on hope.
Muhyiddin trotted out some figures that looked good on paper.
Earlier, he was warned in the local media not to turn up empty-handed in Sabah. He was advised to bring along at least RM2 billion to make good “the rotten state of the roads in Sabah”.
The “nationalists” in Borneo were not impressed with Muhyiddin’s rhetoric. Their thinking is more on “seizing the moral high ground on Malaysia”.
“If there's a thief in the house, we should focus on getting rid of the thief, not talk about repairing, painting and re-decorating the house to keep up with the neighbours, or even worse, discuss getting back some of the stolen money from the thief to do up the house,” runs the conventional wisdom. “We should also not dwell too much on how the thief did a number on us. We know the story. We should focus on how to get rid of him and why we should get rid of him.”
Defence MinisterHishammuddin Hussein Onn has no illusions on Malaysia. He vowed in a late September statement that his Ministry would help the Home Ministry, which he formerly headed, to identify anti-Kuala Lumpur instigator groups who want Sabah to leave Malaysia and are politicising the issue in the alternative media especially in Facebook. It's interesting, in more ways than one, that Hishammuddin didn't mention Sarawak as well.
Obviously it would be bad news for the powers-that-be to mention Sabah and Sarawak in the same breath when challenging any change advocated, however remote, in their current status in the Federation of Malaysia.
Hishammuddin was speaking to the media on the sidelines of a parade in conjunction with the 80th Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF) Day at Dataran Merdeka in Kuala Lumpur recently on Sept 21.
Responding to queries from reporters, the Defence Minister alleged that the “separatist tendencies” in Sabah had been going on for the past several years and its promoters evidently getting “bolder” all the time in the face of seeming official impotence and inaction. He also implied that “enough was enough”.
Sabah for Sabahans
Hishammuddin reiterated the “heroic efforts” made by many security personnel from Peninsular Malaysia in beating back a ragtag bunch of claimants, ostensibly from the Sulu islands but holding MyKads, who seized a remote village in Lahad Datu along the eastern seaboard of Sabah not so long ago. The terrorists shot dead, according to the local media quoting police sources, were all buried in various places in Sabah, according to the addresses listed in their MyKads.
He stopped short of issuing the usual litany of threats all too predictable from Putrajaya but was careful at the same time not to appear to be too toothless in Umno’s electoral fixed deposit states. After all, he’s facing a six-cornered fight in a renewed bid to retain one of the three Umno vice presidencies. There are shades here of former Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar who made ‘Allah’ in Malay print a political issue, at the expense of the Christians, when he was vying for an Umno vice presidency. The rest is history.
Hishammuddin also warned the unnamed separatists against flogging the ‘Sabah for Sabahans’ theme, last played up in the late 1980s and early 90s by the then ruling Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS). Except for a brief mention by the breakaway Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) during the recent general election, no one remembers the old PBS battle cry being replayed for any length of time in recent years.
Indeed, the nearest to the theme are constant reminders, in Facebook in particular, that the presence of the PATAI (Pendatang Asing-Tanpa-Izin Tapi Ada IC) – illegal immigrants with MyKads – and other PATI (illegal immigrants), are no longer tolerable in Sabah if they insist on getting their hands on MyKads and getting on the electoral rolls.
Former Petagas state assemblyman JamesLigunjang, for one, was furious with Hishammuddin putting the Sabah for Sabahans theme under government scrutiny.
“If Sabah is not for Sabahans, then for who?” he asked rhetorically in a text message as soon as news of the Defence Minister’s controversial remarks broke in Kota Kinabalu.
Anti-Malaysia comments in Facebook
Ligunjang, a tiger in executive secretary of PBS which he ditched in 1994 for the breakaway Parti Demokratik Sabah (PDS), now the United PasokMomogun KadazanDusunMurut Organisation (Upko). He’s no longer with the “toothless” party but thinks, like many Sabahans and Sarawakians, that “it’s high time that we stood on our own two feet”. Ligunjang belabours the point that this approach is the only way for the two nations to realise their full potential and wrest their manifest destiny.
Patently, it’s no longer news that anti-Malaysia comments from Sabah and Sarawak hog the limelight in Facebook pages originating from these two nations. These comments reach a crescendo every August and September before being sidetracked by the politics of distraction and disruption.
Indeed, these comments by various individuals may be viewed by Putrajaya in particular as bordering on ‘treason’ or at least seditious, if not calculated to pit people against each other on both sides of the South China Sea and/or cause public alarm at the very least.
These comments, in any case, are more a reflection of the perennial question in Malaysian Borneo since 16 Sept 1963: “How did we get into this situation (being in a Federation with Peninsular Malaysia on the other side of the South China Sea)?” That is the ultimate vote against Malaysia! Such sentiments translate into Facebook Pages like ‘Sabah Sarawak Keluar Malaysia’, moderated by lawyer Doris Jones, a UK-based lawyer from Sabah. She’s wheelchair-bound half the time when overcome by lethargy. There have been strident calls in Facebook, obviously from peninsular Malaysia, for her to be arrested and locked up and the keys virtually thrown away.
The colonial British authorities incarcerated thousands of Sarawakians who were against Malaysia. Many died while during detention or otherwise suffered physical injuries inflicted on them by the colonial authorities who branded them as communist. (Refer to Assoc. Prof Kee Howe Yong's book, The Hakkas of Sarawak- Sacrificial gifts in Cold War Era Malaysia p.52-60)
Dayaks were not excluded as seen in the first division, the Rascom region and other parts of Sarawak where villagenisation took place.
There’s a case for suing the British government to get justice for these people and their families. The Mau Mau case in Kenya and Batang Kali in Malaya refer.
2013 is a watershed year
While Hishammuddin’s preoccupation is with retaining his Umno vice presidency, it seems that he’s also capitalising on the Achilles heel of the ruling Malay elite: they would not want the issue of Sabah and Sarawak to mencabar (challenge) their so-called maruah (dignity) and ketuanan Melayu-ism (Malay political supremacy and dominance).
Still, there's nothing that Putrajaya can do about the numerous obviously anti-Malaysia comments in Facebook, for example, or the emails circulating in cyberspace on the issue. It’s that season: Sabah and Sarawak 50 Years in Malaysia! This is a watershed year like that the ‘Indian Nation’ in Malaya faced on 31 Aug 2007 before the Nov 25 uprising that year by 100,000 of them in the streets of Kuala Lumpur. It’s a time for reluctant Malaysians in Borneo to pause, reflect and decide for the future.
On the one hand, Putrajaya “would not want to make somebodies out of nobodies or heroes out of zeroes”. The burden of Empire sits heavy!
However, if given a chance, they would want to make zeroes out of local heroes especially if the latter are few – that’s hardly the case – in number. Beyond that, there's really very little that they can do. The more Putrajaya shrieks, hysterically or otherwise, in public about the issue of Sabah and Sarawak in Malaysia, the worse it will be for them as it will be tantamount to opening the proverbial Pandora’s Box.
Being typical “ketuanan Melayu-ists”, Putrajaya first pretended to be deaf, dumb and blind when activists in Sabah and Sarawak started “wagging their tails”. They didn't want to dignify the issue.
They pretended to be much bigger than anything that can be thrown at them. However, they are not India, America or the Church for example to take this omnipresent stand. They can't get carried away too long either by their air-conditioned comfort in the massive empire-like structures in Putrajaya. There’s the danger of being eventually exposed like the emperor with no clothes.
Manufacturing new Malays
Putrajaya has no shortage of ketuanan Melayu apologists in Sabah and Sarawak.
Sabah state Mufti Ustaz Bungsu @ Aziz Jaafar (left), for example, proposed at a symposium in the federal administrative centre on Sept 28 that all Muslims in Sabah be re-classified -- no doubt administratively -- as Malays. He pointed out that the Bugis and Javanese among others – along with the Minang, Acehnese, and other Muslims -- in Malaya were classified as Malay.
Article 160 of the Federal Constitution defining Malay as a nation in Malaya, not a race, refers. [DNA-wise, the people of southeast Asia are descended from the dark-skinned Dravidians (archaic Caucasoid) who made their way from south India along the Asian coasts to south China and Taiwan and mated with the yellow-skinned “after specialisation” Mongolian tribes – descended from Dravidians from Afghanistan – living there.]
The Mufti claimed that Islamisation in Sabah had been successful in raising the number of Muslims from below 40 percent in the 1970s to something like 60-odd percent today. He referred to a 1973 amendment which made Islam the official religion in Sabah. If true, the said amendment is unconstitutional, thereby unlawful and therefore illegal since it violates the 20/18 Points and other constitutional documents on Malaysia. Even Article 3 of the Federal Constitution does not mention an official or national religion.
The Mufti’s proposal, if followed, would no doubt whitewash the illegal immigrants in Sabah who purportedly are now classified as Malay in the MyKads that they evidently mysteriously carry around with them.
Malay is not native in Sabah – even the Brunei Malay prefer to be known as Barunai – and nor in Sarawak or Malaya. Malay in Sabah would not qualify to own native land.
However, being Malay automatically brings one within the ambit of Article 153 of the Federal Constitution and the umbrella term Bumiputera which is not law per se but administrative law i.e. Government policy in action and which in any case can be subject to judicial review in Court. (Sarawak Malay is not Malay but Orang Asal – Bidayuh and Iban living along the coasts – who converted to Islam some 300 years ago. The Brookes called them Malay as per the administrative dictates of the British in Malaya. No Malay in Malaya called himself Malay until the anti-Malayan Union movement of 1946.)
Meanwhile, multiple themes on Malaysia are being promoted by individuals locally or groups based abroad and which certainly don't run foul of the country’s laws. Hishammuddin doesn’t have a leg to stand on here as the varied themes, again, “seize the moral high ground on Malaysia in Borneo”.
Non-compliance to 1963 Malaysia Agreement
Besides the “we want to stand on our own two feet” lobby, State Reform Party (Star) Sabah chairman and Bingkor state assemblyperson Dr Jeffrey Kitingan , for one, has been questioning Putrajaya at every opportunity on the federal government’s purported non-compliance of the 1963 Malaysia Agreement.
Jeffrey has long been chanting the same mantra, in fact since the late 1980s, and was even incarcerated for this under the draconian Internal Security Act (ISA) in 1990 for two two-year terms, the second cut short in time for the 1994 state election during which he won Bingkor for the first time.
Then Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad openly accused Jeffrey of “plotting to take Sabah out of Malaysia to be president”. Jeffrey, upon his release, claimed that Mahathir advised him “not to tell the people what they do not know. Don’t make the people smart”.
Mahathir, in retaliation, alleged that RM4 billion – apparently the difference between spot prices and long-term contract prices – went missing during Jeffrey’s tenure as Sabah Foundation director. Jeffrey has denied the allegation and welcomed an investigation. A Pricewaterhouse audit found no criminal wrongdoing on the RM4 billion.
Jeffrey, unrepentant as ever despite ISA, wants the 20/18 Points which are linked to the Malaysia Agreement to be honoured, Malaysia to have a constitution which is not based on that of the old Federation of Malaya, the country to be a two-tier federation i.e. a Federation of Malaya and a Federation of Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak in Malaysia; and Malaysia as one country but with two systems like in China.
Jeffrey has written several must read books including Twenty Points – Basis for Federal State Relations; Justice for Sabah; Political Stability and Economic Development in Malaysia which capture his thoughts and provide the ideological basis for his political struggle for so long.
Political temperature in Borneo
Not surprisingly, Jeffrey’s Borneo Heritage Foundation (BHF) is sponsoring this forum, International Forum 2013, and Malaysia 50 Years On – Expectation vs Reality, in Kota Kinabalu.
Besides the keynote address and two sub-papers, at least 11 papers are being presented by local and international speakers. The fact that the forum has been organised by former Borneo Mail managing director and a former Star Sabah deputy chairman, Paul Voon, tell us something about the political temperature in Borneo. Voon is otherwise more noted for spending his time on the golf course and on the business side of the professional sport rather than being a gravel-voiced bearded revolutionary on the warpath.
Former Sabah state secretary Simon Sipaun has been preaching, even after being questioned by police not so long ago, that “life was better in Sabah before Malaysia”. Sipaun’s beef is that “the people in Sabah are living in fear”, their country swamped by illegal immigrants as racial and religious polarisation a la Malaya takes root, and government is no longer colour-blind as before 1963.
Sipaun is the right person to moderate at this forum. He presented a paper, but not on his favourite theme, at a closed-doorConference on Malaysia 50 Years at the National University of Singapore on Sept 27.
The salient points in Sipaun’s paper were a reference to nine reasons he came up with in 1963 for opposing the idea of Sabah in Malaysia. He conveyed these reasons in writing to Huguan Siou (Paramount Chief) Donald Stephens:
1. North Borneo (Sabah) would lose the only opportunity to experience being a truly independent and sovereign nation able to determine its own destiny with its own seat in the UN;
2. It (Sabah in Malaysia) would simply be a transfer of power from Britain to Malaya;
3. North Borneo did not have the people qualified and experienced enough to negotiate with Malaya and Singapore;
4. North Borneo should demand for self-rule initially followed by full independence from the British;
5. North Borneo should then go to the negotiating table without the British if the people, via referendum, wished to federate with Malaya, Singapore, Sarawak and Brunei;
6. North Borneo should examine very carefully the pros and cons of joining the proposed federation in the immediate, short, medium and long-term before deciding;
7. North Borneo should insist on an escape clause in the event it found itself short-changed later;
8. At best it should only be a loose federation with considerable state autonomy including financial autonomy by having the power to impose taxes on certain items. Political autonomy without financial autonomy was not good enough. The person holding the purse usually has the last say and calls the shots; and
9. The political union between Malaya and North Borneo would be an artificial one bearing in mind that the two territories had very little, if any, in common and was separated by almost 2,000km of sea. North Borneo’s case should not be compared with Singapore. Singapore was geographically part of the Malayan peninsula. Political union with Malaya made a lot of sense especially in terms of economic survival for Singapore. It had no natural resources, not even enough water for its people. At that time, independent Singapore was not a viable option.
Liberation Day in Sarawak
Some activists want to restore the sovereignty of Sabah and Sarawak won on 31 Aug, 1963 and 22 July, 1963 through the Declaration of Independence from British colonial rule. Surprisingly, for the first time in 50 years, the Sarawak government observed July 22 this year as Liberation Day.
Kuching blogger Lina Soo organised a conference at the same time on Sabah and Sarawak’s 50 years in Malaysia. Jeffrey was among the speakers. She moderates a 916 Occupation Day page in Facebook.
The UK-based Borneo’s Plight in Malaysia Foundation (BOPIM), headed by a former Star Sabah deputy chairman Daniel John Jambun, has been making the rounds of several western capitals – Brussels, Amsterdam, Geneva and London – raising awareness on “Malaya’s colonisation of Sabah and Sarawak”.
The BOPIM campaign has been inspired by the contents of declassified colonial documents on Malaysia released in London but not by Putrajaya. Apparently, these documents appear to indicate that the British were convinced that “Malaya would colonise Sabah and Sarawak after they left”.
BOPIM has also been very much taken up by a case, The Government of the State of Kelantan v. The Government of the Federation of Malaya and Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj, which questioned the Formation of Malaysia.  1 MLJ 355.
Kelantan, according to the prevailing wisdom at that time, was not acting alone but had the support of the Malay rulers who were apparently upset that the Malayan government did not consult them on the new federation and thereby breached Malay culture, customs and traditions unlike with the establishment of the Federation of Malaya which had the consent of the traditional rulers, the politicians and the people.
According to academician Dr Khairil Azmin Mokhtar’s paper, Confusion, Coercion and Compromise in Malaysian Federation, presented at the Sept 27 meet in Singapore, “the process of establishing Malaysia was not done in conformity with Malay custom and tradition”.
“The process of making Malaysia did not repeat the procedure in establishing Malaya 1957,” argues Dr Khairil. “Unfortunately, the Malay rulers and the states had been marginalised in the process of establishing Malaysia.”
“There’s no record found so far that the Conference of Rulers gave its consent on the matter. Individual rulers were also not met and consulted by the federal authorities.
Apparently, the Malay rulers and Kelantan felt that the Federation of Malaysia was a new federation, which means that the procedure to establish the Federation of Malaya must be followed before the new federation could be established. The Malay rulers, continued Dr. Khairil, wanted the states to have the right to participate in the process of making any decision which touched on the membership of the new federation.
Daniel John hopes to hit the international circuit again soon for Sabah and Sarawak but has been handicapped somewhat since Hindraf Makkal Sakthi chairman P. Waythamoorthyjoined the government in Putrajaya. Waytha used to be BOPIM’s honourary international advisor on the United Nations, the US State Department and the House of Commons in the UK.
Dispute over oil and gas fields
There’s a case in the High Court of Borneo claiming that the Petroleum Development Act (PDA) is unconstitutional, and that the oil agreement which is based on it, is unlawful, null and void, and illegal.
Activists are alleging that Putrajaya has been stealing Sabah and Sarawak oil and gas since 1976. They want the fields returned before they run dry in 15 years’ time and compensation, at eight percent interest per annum compounded yearly, for the stolen commodities. The onus is on Malaya to disprove theft, failing which the issue of punitive compensation enters the picture.
According to a recent Sabah Law Association study announced by lawyer Sukumaran Vanugopal, the Petroleum Development Act may be unconstitutional, thereby unlawful, and therefore illegal. Hence, the oil agreement based on the PDA was a nullity from the very beginning, void and illegal.
Indeed, former Finance Minister and former Petronas chairman Tengku Razaleigh Hamzahdisclosed on Sept 25 in Kuala Lumpur, at a Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society lecture in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the formation of Malaysia, that oil was the reason why the 1973 Review of Sabah and Sarawak’s participation in Malaysia, ten years after 16 Sept 1963, was not held. He wants the review to be held now, cynically considering the 50th year is as good a time as any, obviously better later than never.
BOPIM plans on launching a signature campaign to endorse Razaleigh’s call that a review be held. The target is to secure as many as one million signatures, although even 50,000 would suffice in a campaign of this nature given the multiplier effect.
Benefits conferred by Sabah
The biggest benefit that Putrajaya is getting in Sabah, according to critics, “is the virtual theft of an entire country from its people in cahoots with illegal immigrants”.
The other benefits are Felda getting its hands on 300,000 hectares in Sabah, peninsular Malaysian companies getting their hands on thousands of acres in the state, peninsular Malaysian companies getting all the big contracts in the state, and the national cabotage policy sucking the blood of consumers and local industry.
Other running themes in the alternative media, Facebook in particular and/or by emails, are that Malaysia is a failure – lack of security, poverty, unflattering comparisons with Singapore (its economy being almost as large as that of Malaysia) and Brunei are being cited –; Sept 16 is Occupation Day since there was “no referendum” on Malaysia; Malaysia is a bad British idea; the Sabah Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) was set up to be a great whitewash; and the UN should revisit Malaysia in Borneo following allegations of colonisation.
The consensus of public opinion in Sabah, in the wake of the just concluded Sabah RCI, is that those who broke the laws on the issuance of MyKads in Sabah must go to jail or be hanged for treason. Foreigners can seek amnesty if they are willing to surrender the Malaysian documents they hold and which they are not entitled or eligible to hold and pay a fine.
The RCI hence, the thinking goes, must not degenerate into a great whitewash:
(1) those MyKads not listed in the JPN data bank must be seized and destroyed;
(2) those MyKads listed in the JPN data bank but not sponsored by parents must be seized and destroyed;
(3) the birth certificates of the twice born must be seized and destroyed; and
(4) any other suspect MyKad and birth certificate not listed above must be investigated.
Sabahans know who are not Sabahans and not Malaysians.
The betting in Sabah and Sarawak is that Putrajaya’s own “guilty conscience on Malaysia”, whatever that means, would eventually kill them in Borneo. The activists are realistic enough to be convinced that it would not be enough to say “boo” when the day comes for “Putrajaya to flee from Borneo in sheer terror with its tails between its legs”.
Still, it cannot be said that hope does not spring eternal in the human breast!
Sabah, Sarawak and Malaya are nations apart
Moving forward, it remains crystal clear that the people of Sabah and Sarawak must also seize the moral high ground on the issue and not be sidetracked by the apologists for Malaya. No man likes to be enslaved and call another man master. Freedom is the universal birthright of every individual.
Sabah, Sarawak and Malaya are nations apart with their own separate histories.
It's time to review the so-called Federation of Sabah and Sarawak with Malaya. The federation as it stands is nothing more than myopia of the highest order, which if continued, will result in the people of both the Borneo nations losing their countries.
The full potential of Sabah and Sarawak can only be realized with these two nations in Borneo reviewing their Federation with Malaya.
It's high time that Sabah and Sarawak stand on their own two feet and free of Malaya’s suffocating control and influence, for better or worse.
Surely, it cannot be worse considering the experience of Singapore and Brunei, the first was expelled from Malaysia after two years, and the other wisely stayed out at the 11th hour as advised by the hypocritical British themselves who felt their oil and gas interests in the sultanate threatened by Malaya. (Sabah and Sarawak were then yet to emerge as oil and gas producers.)
The key to saving Sabah and Sarawak from Malaya is to change the mindset of the people in Malaysia and the world on 16 Sept 1963.
The lack of referendum
The absence of a Referendum or Yes or No Vote on Malaysia in 1963 makes the Malaysia Agreement and other constitutional documents, providing the basis for Sabah and Sarawak to be in Malaysia, to be irrelevant and immaterial. Hence, the Malaya-controlled federal government has been in non-compliance on these constitutional documents which should make up the constitution of Malaysia, whether codified or uncodified, had there been a referendum or Yes or No vote on Malaysia.
Instead, the codified constitution of Malaya is being passed off as the codified constitution of Malaysia, and the Federation of Malaya is masquerading as the Federation of Malaysia.
Those who keep parroting the hype that Sabah and Sarawak made the right decision to join Malaysia are mindlessly promoting a bundle of contradictions.
For starters, although it's not true, it has always been said that Sabah and Sarawak helped to form Malaysia and that they did not “join” the federation as it did not exist previously.
Again, the fact is that there was no referendum on Malaysia. So, the question of Sabah and Sarawak forming or joining Malaysia does not arise.
The facts speak for themselves. No more lies in history books to cover up the truth.
Malaya should shed the burden of Empire in Borneo.
The British told Sabahans and Sarawakians that Malaysia will be an equal partnership.
They told the UN that Sabah and Sarawak will be joining the existing Federation of Malaya and that there was no need for referendum.
Now, it seems that Putrajaya's proxies, stooges and rogue elements in Borneo want us to believe that we joined Malaysia and that we made the right decision.
Even if we accept for a moment a ridiculous line as the gospel truth, are Putrajaya's apologists and sycophants saying that Brunei was stupid to stay out of Malaysia at the eleventh hour and that Singapore was even more stupid to leave the federation and/or get kicked out after two years?
Singapore has an economy almost as large as that of Malaysia while Sabah and Sarawak are not only the poorest and second poorest in the Federation, the former in particular has been swamped by illegal immigrants since 1963. These people are reportedly entering the electoral rolls with MyKads allegedly issued by the National Registration Department. These unwelcome hordes continue to marginalize and disenfranchise the Orang Asal in particular.
To add insult to injury, Article 160 of the Federal Constitution defines "Federation" as that set up by the Federation of Malaya Agreement 1957. In that case, Sabah and Sarawak are the 12th and 13th states in Malaya, as often pointed out Putrajaya-lovers in Sabah and Sarawak.
Wither the Malaysia Agreement 1963! The 28 July, 1976 anti-Sabah/Sarawak Amendment to the Federal Constitution on “Federation” was a gross violation and distortion of the proposed and never held 1973 Review and the Malaysia concept, notwithstanding the fact that there was no referendum on it (the concept). There's no indication in the federal constitution that the name Malaya was changed to Malaysia.
So, it can be said that the Federation of Malaya is masquerading as the Federation of Malaysia and that the constitution of Malaya is being passed off as the constitution of Malaysia. Negaraku, the national anthem of Malaya based on the music of Terang Bulanan Indonesian song, is being touted as the national anthem of Malaysia. The Malayan flag has become the Malaysian flag.
The words "masquerading" and "passing off" -- Malaya as Malaysia and the Malayan constitution as the Malaysian constitution -- have entered the debate along with "theft" of oil and gas resources and the demand for "punitive compensation".
We need to bring closure to Malaya's unfortunate history of shouldering the burden of Empire, after the British, in Borneo.
The Manila and Jakarta factors
The darkest moment is that before the first rays of a new dawn.
Malaysia is not forever. The tragedy is that it wasn't even a little good for Borneo while it lasted as long as it did, although there may be some especially the self-serving who will beg to differ.
While the jury is still out on whether Malaysia was "properly set up" or otherwise, the fact remains that the people had no say in such an important matter, the respective state assemblies in Sabah and Sarawak at the material time were not elected, and the federal government is in non-compliance on the 1963 Malaysia Agreement.
Sabah and Sarawak first lost their sovereignty of 31 Aug 1963 and 22 July 1963 respectively when they were evidently dragged into Malaysia on 16 Sept 1963 by the British and the Malayans.
It’s noteworthy in international law that the Philippines and Indonesia immediately objected to the formation of Malaysia and registered their protests. Manila still refuses to set up a consulate in Sabah and Sarawak despite Wisma Putra being reduced to begging the Philippines government on the matter since 1963.
Indonesians make no secret of the fact that they hate Malaysia and despise Malaysians. Both Manila and Jakarta are yet to forget that the Malayans and the British referred to them as big crocodiles in the region. Ironically, the critics will point out that it’s Malaya which has turned out to be the big crocodile in Borneo.
Sabah and Sarawak were further reduced in their sovereign status after the departure of Singapore from Malaysia. The definition of ‘federation’ in the Federal Constitution was amended to reduce Sabah and Sarawak from their status as equal partners with Malaya to the lowly 12th and 13th states. This is further non-compliance of the Malaysia Agreement, an important constitutional document making up the uncodified constitution of Malaysia, had the federation been properly set up.
Note: The above sub paper was the Joe Fernandez’s contribution towards the international forum ‘Malaysia 50 Years On, Expectation Vs Reality’ held at 1Borneo Grand Ballroom, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah on 5 Oct 2013.
Longtime Borneo watcher Joe Fernandez is a graduate mature student of law who also tutors at local institutions. 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 fin