‘Malaysia Agreement is beyond Federal Constitution’

[COLOR=#707070 !important]Winston Way
| March 18, 2014[/COLOR]

A Sabah political analyst said Sarawak Chief Minister Adenan Satem's recent statement that Sarawak is an "autonomous state" raises many questions over Federation of Malaya's compliance to the Malaysia Agreement.

KUCHING: The Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) is no ordinary agreement and a breach of any of its clauses could be challenged, said Sabah political analyst Zainnal Ajamain.

“The Malaysia Agreement provides a recourse should there be any disputes or breach, include a mechanism which may resolve issues such as this,” said Zainnal who is also the secretary-general of Parti Kerjasama Rakyat Sabah (Pakar).

He explained that the “mechanism” was in the form of Article 8 in MA63 which reads: Article VIII – The Governments of the Federation of Malaya, North Borneo and Sarawak will take such legislative, executive or other action as may be required to implement the assurances, undertakings and recommendations contained in Chapter 3 of, and Annexes A and B to, the Report of the Inter-Governmental Committee signed on 27th February, 1963, in so far as they are not implemented by express provision of the Constitution of Malaysia.

Speaking to FMTBorneoPLus, Zainnal said while Article 8 was explicit there was little compliance by the federal capital.

“Article 8 in the Malaysia Agreement provides for free negotiation amongst peers, which means when there are issues that arise from this union, the problems should be resolved by the government of the Federation of Malaya, North Borneo (Sabah) and Sarawak and appropriate enactment made for the solution.

“However, Malaya has never made any effort to establish this compliance mechanism. It is perhaps because at present the Federation of Malaya no longer exists,” Zainnal said.

He was responding to Sarawak chief minister Adenan Satem’s remarks in an interview with an English daily over the weekend.

In the interview, Adenan said: “Our relationship with the Federal Government must be constitutionally correct. The relationship between Sarawak and KL is different from that between Pahang, for instance, and KL.”

“We are an autonomous state according to the Malaysia Agreement. We did not join Malaysia; we are a party to the formation of Malaysia.

“There was no Malaysia to join before the signing of the Malaysia Agreement. We are equal partners in the federation,” Adenan reportedly said.
Adenan’s reminder to Putrajaya

To this Zainnal said: “Our relationship with the Federal Government must be constitutionally correct.

“Adenan was actually posing a number of hard hitting questions to the Central Government.

“Is it constitutionally correct for the Central government to get involved in State matters, such as the appointment of the Chief Minister?

“Taking the cue from Sabah where the Central Government was responsible in influencing the rotation of Chief Ministers.

“Is it constitutionally correct for the Central Government to pass a law which effectively takes over a State Resource while at the same time creating a private sector entity to actually execute this law?

“The question to ask now is the Petroleum Development Act in accordance to the Malaysia Constitution – when Land is a state matter?

“Is it constitutional for the Central Government to establish a law which gives consent for cartels to be created and this in turn is allowed to discriminate and disenfranchise the people of Sabah and Sarawak? Carbotage Policy for example,” Zainnal said.

He also said that there were many such questions that should be posed to the Federal Government. He cited the ‘safeguards and caveats’ put forward by the Inter-Government Committee (IGC) Reports while IGC was working out the Constitutional Arrangements for the Malaysia Constitution.
“As rightly pointed out by the YAB Chief Minister (Adenan), relationship with Kuala Lumpur is not the same as Pahang and Kuala Lumpur.

“Sabah and Sarawak has their own autonomy based on the ‘safeguards and caveats’ provided for in the IGC Reports which eventually became the Malaysia Agreement that was signed by the United Kingdom, Federation of Malaya, North Borneo, Sarawak and Singapore,” he added.

Lord Cobbold’s warning

Zainnal stated too that MA63 as a result stands as the most essential document in the history of Malaysia.

“Unlike the Federal Constitution, it can never be amended by anybody or even by the Malaysia Parliament, unless the territories that originally signed it decided once more to return to the negotiation table and determine the new future.

“This also means that unlike what a lot of people perceived, the Federal Constitution is not supreme, it is limited by the safeguards and caveats in the IGC report as well as the Malaysia Agreement 1963,” Zainnal said.

He said Adenan was spot on twhen he said: ‘We are equal partners in the federation’.

“This is consistent with Lord Cobbold’s warning when debating on the Malaysia Bill in London one year after the Cobbold Commission Report was submitted to the British and Malaya government.

“Cobbold said: I should like to draw your Lordships’ attention to one particular phrase which I used in the concluding paragraphs of our Report, which is that it is a necessary condition that, from the outset, Malaysia should be regarded by all concerned as an association of partners, combining in the common interest to create a new nation, but retaining their own individualities.

“I took leave in the Report to recommend that in the forthcoming negotiations Government should pay close attention to that point, both in its psychological and its practical aspects,” said Zainnal quotingd the Cobbold Commision chairman.

Cobbold Commision was a Commision of Enquiry set up in January 1962 to determine whether the people of North Borneo (Sabah) and Sarawak supported the proposal to create Malaysia, as well as the drafting of the Constitution of Malaysia.

There have been warnings recently from leaders from both of the Malaysian political divide to those in Sabah and Sarawak not to raise the question of MA63 compliance as it was ‘treason in nature’ and ‘seditious’.
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