Sunday, October 23, 2016

The Borneo Betrayal

There is a growing clamor within Sarawak and Sabah to demand that the two states’ constitutional rights be restored.
In fact, Sarawak BN Backbenchers’ Club chairperson Abdullah Saidol had already warned the ruling coalition on June 10, 2016 that they risk losing voter support from their “fixed deposit” at the next national elections if the federal government do not expedite the return of the state's rights.
But blame shouldn’t be directed at the federal government only. Sarawak and Sabah MPs were amongst the 130 members of parliament who supported an amendment to Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution – and which had downgraded the status of Sarawak and Sabah. In other words, the two East Malaysian land masses were no longer equal partners to Malaya, but as states, on the same status as the eleven states in Malaya. This is the Borneo betrayal!
The said revision was among 48 amendments to the Federal Constitution under a Bill that the then Prime Minister Hussein Onn tabled on July 12, 1976. And it was passed one day later.
[Note: Two Sarawak MPs Leo Moggie Irok (Kanowit) and Tin Ling Kiew (Bintulu) were not recorded in the Hansard to have supported the amendment but there was also no record that they were against the amendment. The names of two Sabah MPs Mustapha Harun (Marudu) and Pengiran Tahir Pengarin Patera (Kimanis) were also absent from the record of that sitting].
Only four MPs had opposed it and they were all from the DAP: Lim Kit Siang, Dr Tan Chee Khoon, Farn Seong Than and Lee Lam Thye.
Malaysia as a nation was cobbled together as an outcome of the Cobbold Commission. It was basically a Commission of Enquiry set up to find out whether the people of Sabah and Sarawak agreed to create the Federation of Malaysia which comprises Malaya, Brunei, Singapore, Sabah and Sarawak.
On August 01, 1962, the Commission released its report. And yet, this decision to embrace Malaysia wasn’t unanimous:
“About one-third of the population of each territory strongly favors early realization of Malaysia without too much concern about terms and conditions. Another third, many of them favorable to the Malaysia project, ask, with varying degrees of emphasis, for conditions and safeguards varying in nature and extent: the warmth of support among this category would be markedly influenced by a firm expression of opinion by Governments that the detailed arrangements eventually agreed upon are in the best interests of the territories. The remaining third is divided between those who insist on independence before Malaysia is considered and those who would strongly prefer to see British rule continue for some years to come. If the conditions and reservations which they have put forward could be substantially met, the second category referred to above would generally support the proposals. Moreover once a firm decision was taken quite a number of the third category would be likely to abandon their opposition and decide to make the best of a doubtful job. There will remain a hard core, vocal and politically active, which will oppose Malaysia on any terms unless it is preceded by independence and self-government: this hard core might amount to near 20 percent of the population of Sarawak and somewhat less in North Borneo”.
And Sarawak came up with an 18-point agreement and Sabah a 20-point agreement – these were drawn up by the two Borneo entities, proposing terms and conditions for their incorporation into Malaysia – during negotiations prior to the creation of the new federation in 1963. The agreements were meant to safeguard the autonomy and the special interests of the peoples of Sarawak and Sabah, protecting, among others, their rights on religion, language, education, administration, economy and culture.
Some of the said points were incorporated, to varying degrees, into what became the Constitution of Malaysia; others were merely accepted orally, thus not gaining legal status.
[Note: The agreements often serve as a focal point amongst those who argue that Sarawak and Sabah's rights within the Federation have been eroded over time].
I may not be a Sarawakian or Sabahan – but given BN’s political chicaneries over the years, I support the return of full autonomy to Sarawak and Sabah in the spirit of the Malaysia Agreements. It is time Sarawak and Sabah reclaim their full rights. Unconditionally.
Cease the colonization of Sarawak and Sabah!
Yesterday, Liverpool secured a deserved 2-1 victory over West Brom and now sit second in the EPL table.
Jurgen Klopp's team dominated at Anfield and took the lead as Sadio Mane steered in Roberto Firmino's dinked cross in the twentieth minute. And fifteen minutes later, Philippe Coutinho picked up the ball from Mane, cut inside Baggies defender Gareth McAuley and shot into the bottom corner.
A two-goal victory would have taken Liverpool top, but McAuley denied them first place when he smashed in a late goal in the eighty-first minute after Liverpool failed to clear a corner.
Nevertheless, the victory extended the Reds’ unbeaten run to nine games in all competitions – just behind leaders Arsenal on goal difference.
And did you know that since Jurgen Klopp's first game in charge, there have been more Premier League goals netted in games involving Liverpool than any other team (126 – 75 for, 51 against)?

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