Go To London Well Prepared For the Long Haul – Soo Tells Legal Team

KUCHING: Lina Soo, the President STAR Party has welcomed, albeit with reservations, the Sarawak government’s decision to send a legal team to London “to study any references related to the State’s rights under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63)”.

Soo claims that over the last five years, there has been simmering public dissatisfaction over Sarawak’s unequal and skewed relationship with the federal government at Putrajaya, with the resultant erosion of Sarawak rights and powers.

Lina Soo with her book Sarawak Chronicle

However she said a short visit would be just a “legal holiday” for the team whose expenses would be paid by tax payers.

“One or two weeks is insufficient to uncover the truth regarding Sarawak’s rights and constitutional position in the formation of Malaysia,” Soo said in a statement, adding that this task would indeed require an experienced team to undertake several months of serious full time research.

She pointed out that before the legal team make such a trip they should do their homework first and study the resources on hand, much of which is available from Sarawak’s gazettes, the Council Negeri Hansard and from the research of private individuals.

“For a start, the legal team should study the “Memorandum of Safeguards and Guarantees for the Borneo States” drawn up by the Malaysia Solidarity Consultative Committee signed by Malaya, Singapore, North Borneo and Sarawak on 3rd February 1962, the Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) Report and surrounding documents relating to what was said in public by the negotiating parties about Sarawak rights leading up to the formation of Malaysia,” she added.

Soo, who is also a keen Sarawak archivist historian and writer, has authored 2 books on Sarawak’s nationalism struggle: “Sarawak- The Real Deal” published in 2013; and Sarawak Chronicle published in 2016.

Sarawak Chronicle is a compilation of Sarawak’s constitutional and legal documents from its founding in 1841 as an independent sovereign Nation-State to its absorption into the Federation of Malaya renamed as Malaysia on 16 September 1963.

For her second book Soo had travelled to London to research on the “formation of Malaysia” by accessing the declassified colonial documents at the British National Archives.

Soo declared she is ready to provide her books and also a collection of the thousands of declassified colonial documents sourced from the British Archives to the Sarawak legal team free of charge. This would save time and unnecessary spending of public funds in having to repeat the work undertaken by private initiatives since 2011.

She also calls upon the Sarawak Government to open the archives to Sarawakians as she believes it is a citizen’s right to have access to the country’s historical information, and finds it incredible that the British Archives are open to anyone, while Sarawak’s Archives are closed to its own citizens.

As the issue of Sarawak rights is paramount to Sarawakians, the legal team should consider collaborating with interested parties and private citizens who have already done their research. Sarawak’s interests must be placed over and above above party politics, reminds Soo.

On her part Soo is prepared to meet with the Legal Team to go through the documents and assist in preparing a brief for the mission, on a voluntary basis as it is for the good of Sarawak.

Those who wish to purchase Soo’s books may call 014-5950511 for a copy.