‘All states equal under Federalism’: SUPP very disappointed with Pandikar

SUPP is very disappointed and totally disagrees with the notion by Dewan Rakyat speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia that all States in Malaysia are equal under the federalism.

We  fully agree and support the statement by our Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari released on the  30 November 2017.

First of all, there were five signatories to the Malaysia Agreement 1963 that formed Malaysia. They were the United Kingdom, the Federation of Malaya, Sarawak, Sabah and Singapore.

Individual states in Peninsula Malaya were  never signatories to the formation of Malaysia. So Perlis, Kelantan, Penang and other Malayan states did not sign the Malaysia Agreement 1963 at all.  Federated States of Malaya signed.

SUPP had always been consistent and adamant that Sarawak is one of the three founding partners to the formation of Malaysia and therefore Sarawak can  never equal to other states in Peninsular.

Sarawak, Sabah, Federated States of Malaya and Singapore then (separated in 1965) formed Malaysia .

The important fact is that Sarawak and Sabah formed Malaysia, not joined Malaysia.

Our late Chief Minister Pehin Sri Haji Adenan Satem had time and again reminded us that there would not be any Malaysia today without Sarawak.

No person can deny the validity and legality of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 along side with the Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) Report 1962, the Cobbold Commission and the Malaysia Act (Chapter 35).

Our Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Datuk Amar Abang Zohari had on numerous occasions stressed the importance of MA 63 and had indeed sent a strong legal team to United Kingdom to do a thorough research on all relevant papers, documents, recorded minutes during the countless discussions on the formation of Malaysia.

This is the serious commitment of our Chief Minister and Sarawak Governent in wanting to get the full facts and thus able to fight for and safeguard the interests of Sarawak and people of Sarawak, during discussions with the  Federal Government.

We must also remind ourselves that in the  Malaysia Agreement 63 there are additional degrees of autonomy and special privileges which the Peninsular states do not have.

The degree of autonomy that we have but Peninsular states do not have includes:

  1. the power over our State immigration;
  2. lawyers from Peninsular cannot freely practice laws in Sarawak without applying for “ad hoc” admission
  3. the rights to use English language in our High Court and many more.
  4. Even in the Federal Constitution, additional sources of revenue and special grants are assigned only to Sarawak and Sabah and not to the other states in Peninsular. Furthermore, there are many safeguards put in place only for Sarawak and Sabah listed in the Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) Report 1962 that covers issues such as religion freedom, representation in the Federal Parliament, financial provisions and education which are not expressed or partially expressed by the provisions in the Federal Constitution but must be implemented under Article VIII of the Malaysia Agreement.

With all that, it is not accurate for the Dewan Rakyat speaker Pandikar to say that Sarawak and Sabah are equal to all other states. As a conclusion I would like  to refer to the statement  by the Chief Justice of Sabah and Sarawak Tan Sri Richard Malanjum  published in Sabah newspaper on the June 12 2017 entitled Documents on Sabah ‘s rights vital.

There he slammed the tendency of some people in high places for reducing documents that spell out the rights of Sabah ( Sarawak added by me) as nothing more than a historical paper to be kept in the archives.

He added obviously these people did not understand the importance of the documents to the current  and future generation of Sabahans.

Datuk Sebastian Ting is  Secretary General, SUPP AND Assemblyman for Piasau