PANDIKAR CERTAINLY HAS SET SABAHANS AND SARAWAKIANS THINKING ABOUT THEIR FUTURE. FROM THIS PERSPECTIVE, HE MAY HAVE QUICKENED THE DISINTEGRATION OF THE FEDERATION OF MALAYSIA
By DR JEFFREY G KITINGAN
COMMENT: At this time and age, it is very surprising for Pandikar Amin to be wrong and misleading Malaysians, particularly Sabahans, on the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) and the 40% net revenue entitlement due to Sabah under the Federal Constitution. He may have his reasons, but he is obviously twisting facts with pure, empty political rhetoric for political survival.
Pandikar made several remarks in his speech at a public forum on MA63 over the weekend at a leading school hall in Kota Kinabalu, but it was a poorly attended one.
Respectfully, I must disagree with Pandikar on three (3) key issues in his speech.
• Firstly, the discontentment and unhappiness over the formation of Malaysia and the treatment of Sabah and Sarawak by Malaya and the Federal government is real and not imaginary or rhetoric. Even Umno leaders and members in Sabah are clamouring for the return of Sabah rights and autonomy as promised.
• Secondly, the special rights of Sabah including those under Article VIII of MA63 and those written in the Federal Constitution like the 40% net revenue derived from Sabah and other additional revenues assigned to Sabah have yet to be implemented.
• Thirdly, it is incorrect to infer that if these revenue rights are implemented, Sabah would get less from the Federal government.
The formation of the Federation of Malaysia is a political process over several years and it is wrong and inappropriate to base an opinion on a literal reading and interpretation of MA63, particularly his reference to Article 1 thereof.
The Malaysia Project was a British and Malayan agenda and conspiracy to colonise Sabah and Sarawak, and one needs to read and understand the various documents in the process of the formation and the various agendas of the players involved.
Apparently, Pandikar does not seem to appreciate the concerns of Sabah’s founding fathers, including what happened in Brunei, Indonesia, the Philippines and the United Nations during the process.
The process started with the London Talks in November 1961 where the Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom and the Federation of Malaya agreed to create a new Federation of Malaysia embracing the Federation of Malaya, Singapore, Sarawak and then North Borneo as well as Brunei.
If it is just a literal interpretation, what about the Federation of Malaysia that was proclaimed by Tunku Abdul Rahman as well as by Tun Fuad on September 16, 1963. In the Proclamation, it is clearly stated to the whole world that Singapore, Sarawak and Sabah were to be federated with the Federation of Malaya.
As the Speaker of the Federal Parliament, Pandikar is doing a great disservice with his distorted views that the relevant constitutional documents are not valid, that the MA63 and the rights of Sabah have been fully implemented.
Article VIII of MA63 clearly spelt out that “the Governments of the Federation of Malaya, North Borneo and Sarawak will take such legislative, executive or other action as may be required to implement the assurances, undertakings and recommendations contained in Chapter 3 of, and Annexes A and B to, the Report of the Inter-Governmental Committee signed on 27th February, 1963, in so far as they are not implemented by express provision of the Constitution of Malaysia”.
Obviously, he is also failing to uphold the Federal Constitution, the highest law of the land, with his outlandish remarks.
The constitutional provisions for the return of the 40% net revenue derived from Sabah, oil and gas import and excise duties, timber export duties and export duties on crude oil in lieu of royalties which Sabah are constitutionally entitled, have been ignored for the past 43 years. They amount to tens of billion ringgits annually, money which is badly needed to develop Sabah and provide from the welfare and benefit of Sabahans who comprise 40% of all poor in Malaysia.
The Federation of Malaya would not have enjoyed its development if not for this 40% revenue ‘stolen’ from Sabah since 1974 together with the 95% oil and gas revenues from Sabah and Sarawak since 1976.
His quote that the Pan-Borneo Highway is being built after 54 years in Malaysia, smacks of another distorted view. It has yet to be built completely and even when completed, there is nothing to be proud off, given that almost all rural roads in Sabah and Sarawak are mud and gravel roads. Many of the dirt tracks are not even built by the government but by logging contractors going after the rich timber resources.
If the constitutional documents are invalid, then as the Speaker, he should move a motion to declare Malaysia as invalid and dissolve the Federation and send the MPs from Sabah and Sarawak home to their home nations.
I am quite sure that many MPs from Sabah and Sarawak would gladly accept his order to return home. Many Sabahans and Sarawakians would certainly welcome his move.
Contrary to his intentions, Pandikar may have caused more damage to his political ambitions with his views. It raises more questions than help his political masters in Kuala Lumpur.
i. Is he saying the Federal government is wrong to set up the Cabinet Committed co-chaired by the Ministers from Sabah and Sarawak?
ii. Is he saying that the Sarawak government is wrong is claiming for the restoration of their rights promised in the formation of Malaysia?
iii. Is he saying that the Sabah Special Rights and Revenue Committee set up by the Sabah government will lead to nothing and is a waste of time?
iv. Does he know the difference between Sabah’s Revenue Rights under the Federal Constitution and the allocation of development funds by the Federal government?
As the Speaker of Parliament, is he deciding as the Head of Parliament or instructed to disallow parliamentary debate on a review of MA63 and the Federal Constitution? If as he thinks that all rights have been implemented, why does he not allow the motion to debate the rights of the Borneo States in Parliament?
Pandikar certainly has set Sabahans and Sarawakians thinking about their future. From this perspective, Pandikar may have quickened the disintegration of the Federation of Malaysia. He has also invariably contributed to a higher resolve of Sabahans and Sarawakians to unite and seek their rights and perhaps wonder if they should remain in Malaysia if their rights continue to be violated and unfulfilled.
• Dr Jeffrey Kitingan is Bingkor Assemblyman and President, Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku.