MA63 motion to reinforce and safeguard Sarawak and its peoples’ rights

Datuk Amar Speaker, Sir, 

Thank you very much for the opportunity to speak  I rise to render my full support to the ministerial motion that has just been moved by the Honorable Deputy Chief Minister and member for Bukit Saban and seconded by another Honorable Deputy Chief Minister and member for Baleh

Today, this august House on the 150th Anniversary of this Dewan, we are deliberating on a very significant motion to reinforce and safeguard Sarawak and its peoples’ rights, privileges and interests which have been agreed upon and documented during the formation of Malaysia.  It is imperative that we should at the same time resolve in this august House on whatever rights, privileges or interests that belonged to Sarawak which have been eroded or taken away and should now be reinstated.

Therefore, it is timely that this august House reiterates our firm stand on behalf of all the people of Sarawak that the Federal Government should duly uphold and comply with the true intent and spirit of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) and any other related documents and if any of them have been violated or taken away knowingly or unknowingly, then it should be returned to Sarawak and restored.  In this connection, we must have all the relevant supporting historical facts and substantiated documents to support our stand and claims that what is ours is ours.

I would like here to applaud our Right Honourable Chief Minister’s initiative and endorsed by our Sarawak Government in sending a team of lawyers to London to study the details of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 and other related relevant facts as well as to obtain supporting documents relating to Sarawak’s rights.  All quarters of Sarawak were very excited and supportive of our Sarawak Government in making such a proactive move except certain members of the Malayan-based opposition Party.

It is very disappointing to observe that certain leaders of the Malaya based opposition parties were trying to have a field day by launching baseless criticisms, and ridicule the Sarawak Government’s recent effort in sending a team of lawyers to London and alleged that it was a waste of time and money.

It appeared that they were not keen to see that Sarawak Government succeed in its effort.  Instead they simply want to discredit and cheap publicity, hoping that our efforts will fail.  By doing so, they are doing a great disservice to Sarawak and its people – as they do not seem to be serious to see that Sarawak’s rights are safeguarded.

Datuk Amar Speaker, In response to all the unhelpful and negative criticisms, I would like to quote what our Right Honourable Chief Minister said, “This agreement (MA63) is not simply an agreement, we want to get the facts right because if we want to make a claim, we must do our homework, otherwise we are just shooting at the target without hitting it.” Unquote.

I would also like to concur with our YAB in saying the following that, “Not ONLY do we need to know the FACTS to the MA63, but we MUST also ascertain the ORIGINAL INTENTIONS of our forefathers when signing the MA63.”  Hence it is imperative to ascertain the facts and the original intentions of our forefathers and that was exactly what our team of lawyers were doing in London!  We must not overlook the facts in the history relating to the true letter and spirit of our forefathers in the formation of Malaysia.

Datuk Amar Speaker,   On June 4th, 1959, my party Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) was the very first political party formed in Sarawak and it was formed out of the widespread raging nationalism among Sarawakians to fight for Sarawak’s Independence from British Colonial Government. Our Party SUPP had rightly expressed the 1959 sentiment of our fellow Sarawakians in 3 words: “Sarawak for Sarawakians”!

Datuk Amar Speaker,   When the idea of forming a greater union of nations called Malaysia was proposed by our late Tunku Abdul Rahman in 1962, our forefathers were very concerned about whether we would move from one colonial ruling to another by losing all our rights to a central government.

These concerns were truly justified because Sarawak was an independent KINGDOM since 1841 until it became a British colony in 1946.  That concern never ceased even after we had formed the Federation of Malaysia on September 16, 1963. And our current generation’s concerns were again justified when we witnessed how slowly over time some of our rights under MA63 were eroded through the years. We are not happy that by forming Malaysia as one of the founding partners, some of our rights as stated in MA63 and encapsulated in other supporting reports, such as the Cobold Commission and the Inter-Government Committee Reports have been compromised and discounted.

Datuk Amar Speaker,   Without Sarawak, there is no Malaysia  Datuk Amar Speaker,   With the lifting of the Emergency Proclamations back on 24th November 2011 by YAB Prime Minister Dato Sri Najib,  • the Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance No.7 (1969)  • the Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance No. 10 (1969)  • Continental Shelf Act 1966 and  • the Petroleum Mining Act 1966  will cease to have effect on Sarawak. This means Sarawak’s territorial waters should immediately be reverted back to its original boundary before the formation of Malaysia, which according to Section 2 of the Order of Council that was issued on 24th June 1954 in the United Kingdom states, “2. The boundaries of the Colony of Sarawak are hereby extended to include the area of continental shelf being the seabed and its subsoil which lies beneath the high seas contiguous to the territorial waters of Sarawak.”  and is no longer limited to just a mere 3 nautical miles.

Datuk Amar Speaker, Once again, the sentiment of our fellow Sarawakians under the leadership of our former Chief Minister, the late Pehin Sri Tan Sri Adenan Satem, were raging to get back what we are entitled to under MA63 as well as to further defend for our rights according to MA63!  I salute the late Tok Nam for the courage of leadership in declaring 22 July as Hari Merdeka Sarawak; our birthday; serve as a permanent reminder to all Sarawakians, irrespective of where you are in the world that our rights, privileges and interests in MA63.  Our party SUPP during the last State Election expressed our fellow Sarawakians wishes in 2 words: “Safeguard Sarawak” to remind the Federal Government that all we want to claim and safeguard are our rights as provided in MA63, nothing more and nothing less!

Datuk Amar Speaker,   In 2015, at our party’s own efforts in researching the historical documents relating to the formation of Malaysia, we successfully brought back some declassified documents from the National Archives, London. We had also presented a copy of such declassified documents to our late Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem for his reference. Those declassified documents mainly consist of numerous correspondences among the British officers, and one can clearly see from the archives that the first and foremost concerns of our forefathers, while negotiating for the formation of Malaysia were all about our state rights, such as land, immigration powers, freedom of religion, and native rights. It was therefore never an intention of our forefathers to lose our autonomy in land, immigration powers, freedom of religion and native rights when forming Malaysia together with Malaya, Sabah and Singapore in 1963.

Datuk Amar Speaker, Since our late Pehin Sri Tan Sri Adenan Satem took office of Chief Minister of Sarawak in 2014, he had truthfully declared to the Federal Government our Sarawakians’ wishes to claim our rights and autonomy according to MA63.  With the united support from all State Barisan Nasional component parties PBB, SUPP, PRS and PDP, together with over 2 million Sarawakians, Team Adenan had made a very strong statement during the 11th State Election in last May that all we want to claim and safeguard are those rights and position as agreed in the Malaysia Agreement 1963: “What is ours is ours, nothing more and nothing less.”  Datuk Amar Speaker,   Today that very same firm and forceful passion is now continued by our new captain, Captain Abang Jo of Team Adenan. Our captain doesn’t just talk about Sarawak Autonomy, he sent a team of lawyers to London to flip through pages of historical documents relating to Sarawak’s rights.

This is a very critical move as there were many exchanges of letters, minutes of meetings especially those recorded during the plenary meetings of the Inter-Governmental Committee, and to even trace our state rights all the way up to the time when Sarawak was called the Kingdom of Sarawak as ruled by the White Rajahs.  According to Article VIII of the MA63, in order for the signing parties to the Agreement to continue to work out and implement the assurances, undertakings, and recommendations as contained in the MA63 as well as the Report of the Inter-Governmental Committee as signed on 27th February 1963, both Sarawak Government and the Federal Government must take necessary legislative, executive and other actions to achieve the above.  I therefore complement our Sarawak Government on its continuous efforts as led by our Right Honorable Chief Minister to communicate with the Federal Government as to the necessary actions to be taken to restore rights to Sarawak as provided in MA63.

Datuk Amar Speaker,  Let us not forget, on last September 16 this year (our wedding anniversary), during the Malaysia Day celebration in Kota Kinabalu, Datuk Amar Speaker and I were both present to listen first hand to our YAB Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib, who openly promised that the Federal Government will restore all Sabah and Sarawak rights as stated in MA63

Datuk Amar Speaker,

In summary, this ministerial motion by the Honorable Deputy Chief Minister and Member for Bukit Saban wants to achieve a solution to all the unresolved issues under devolution of power under MA63, for these to be dealt by high level representatives from both the State and Federal Government and these representatives ought to be vested with full authority to make expeditious decisions to facilitate the settlement of these issues.

The State Government does not like to adopt a confrontational stance in the discussions with the Federal Government in this Devolution of Power process.  As I had said multiple times in Senate in the Parliament of Malaysia, we are grateful for Malaya to defend Sarawak by blood and in return for Sarawak to defend Malaysia by blood.  Sarawak, as a founder of this Nation would not act against the national interests.   After 54 years of marriage, why Sarawakians are unhappy?  We want the Federal Government (not just Federal Ministers but Federal Officers) and other State Governments in Malaysia to demonstrate a proper understanding and respect for, the aspirations of the people of Sarawak who want the State to have its proper position and status in the Federation in accordance with the terms, spirit and letter of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (we are not just one of the 14 states).  Is like you have woken up in a marriage, the person you married in 1963 is a totally different person today.

Sarawak’s true desire is that when the ongoing process of Devolution of Power is over, all the Sarawak’s rights which have been eroded due to various circumstances, such as the Proclamations of Emergencies in 1966 and 1969, would be restored, that Malaysia remains a united and stable nation and be a shining example of how Federalism should work in the interests of both the Federal and State Governments based upon the Federal Constitution.  Datuk Amar Speaker  In conclusion, I wish to reiterate here that I fully support the motion as moved by Honorable Deputy Chief Minister and member for Bukit Saban.  I also hope that all Honourabe Members in this august House will support the motion as a further step in safeguarding Sarawak’s interests and rights to make Sarawak Stronger!  I’m In

Salam Ibu Pertiwiku.