KOTA KINABALU: The mainstream thinking of Barisan Nasional leaders that Sabah and Sarawak are just like any other state in Malaysia is clearly reflected in Pandikar Amin Mulia, the Dewan Rakyat Speaker’s public lecture on the 1963 Malaysia Agreement (MA63) last weekend.
Chan Foong Hin, the DAP Sabah secretary, said among Pandikar’s contention was that Sabah and Sarawak were never two separate nations, but only British colonies, prior to the formation of Malaysia.
However, Chan, who is also Sri Tanjong Assemblyman, said DAP Sabah disagreed with Pandikar and his interpretations on the subject matter.
“First and foremost, even if Sabah and Sarawak were not nations prior to the formation of Malaysia, both were territories and were the signatories to MA63,” he said in a statement.
“We were the founding members to this federation, and not just one of the states in the federation. Without Sabah and Sarawak, there is no Malaysia.”
The 1976 amendment on Article 1(2) of Federal Constitution have significant implications on the status of Sabah and Sarawak, according to Chan.
During an MA63 forum over the weekend organised by Gabungan Idea Pembangunan Sabah, Pandikar contended that Sabah was never been downgraded to being a state in Malaysia, from being one of three equal partners (along with Sarawak and Malaya).
He claimed that Sabah and Sarawak were already at the same level as the other states and not (with) the Federation (of Malaya).
Pandikar also described claims by certain quarters that Sabah’s rights were not fully executed under MA63 as empty political rhetoric to incite anger and hatred among the people in Sabah.
Changes in the wordings from three categories of states in Malaysia (States of Malaya, Borneo States, and Singapore) to one catch-all sentence (Malaysia consists of the states with their respective name), had reflected the “no difference” among all the states.
Chan claimed the historical fact that Sabah and Sarawak were founding partners of this federation, was deleted from history by the ruling party leaders.
“Sabah and Sarawak are not “just one of the states” in the federation,” said the Sri Tanjung lawmaker.
“Malaysia is an example of asymmetrical design of Federalism, with these two territories have more autonomies which are safeguarded by the constitutional arrangement as enshrined in not only Federal Constitution, but also MA63 and Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) Report.
“We have special provisions in immigration control, education, religious matters, natives protection and financial powers.
“How could Pandikar say we have no special positions and privileges over other Malayan states?” he asked.
Chan suggested the enactment of the Territorial Sea Act 2012 (and its predecessor, the Continental Shelf Act 1969) has the effect of usurping the territories of Sabah and Sarawak.
“And no law relating to this was passed in the Sabah and Sarawak State assemblies to effect the altering of the boundary, thus it is in clear violation of the Federal Constitution,” he pointed out.
“I wonder why should Pandikar, being a leader from Sabah, chose to play an unpopular role in defending all the undefendable wrongdoings by the BN federal government.
“Pandikar’s public lecture mirrored the mainstream thinking of BN leaders. They are seriously infected with the Syndrome of Denial, and cannot allow Sabah and Sarawak to be different with other states.”