KOTA KINABALU: The polemics on Putrajaya’s internal colonization policies in Sabah and Sarawak appears to be getting increasingly shrill and out of hand and needs to be brought to a swift end and buried for good. Instead, it’s felt that it’s best to let bygones be bygones and “focus on regaining self-determination along the lines of 31 Aug 1963” for Sabah and Sarawak.
Self-determination in this form for Sabah and Sarawak would be “the best way forward and out from internal colonization”. Self-determination, in international law, “has come to mean the free choice of one’s own acts without external compulsion”.
This is the growing consensus within the State Reform Party (Star), a Borneo-based national party which initiated, formed and leads the United Borneo Alliance (UBA) to work towards a 3rd Force in the Malaysian Parliament.
“We feel it’s pointless, indeed counter-productive, to engage in further polemics on the issue of internal colonization in Sabah and Sarawak,” said Star deputy chairman Daniel John Jambun in a press statement. “We should stop participating in further polemics on the issue. It serves little purpose to debate anyone on internal colonization.”
He was commenting on a statement on Wed this week in the local media by the Yayasan Islam Sabah (YIS) virtually denying the basis on which Sabah and Sarawak formed Malaysia. The welfare body also claimed, “in defiance of international law”, that Sabah does not have the right to leave Malaysia.
Former Sabah Chief Minister Harris Salleh heads the YIS and recently challenged Star chairman Jeffrey Kitingan to a public debate on internal colonization. Jeffrey accepted the dare subject to Harris proving locus standi and “something more than hot air coming out of the debate”. Harris, in turn, called Jeffrey “chicken”, a label which the latter threw back at the former.
Daniel explained that UBA had hoped that a public debate on internal colonization would not be about scoring points or turning heroes into zeros or vice versa but instead facilitate the process of reversing the phenomenon in the two Borneo states in Malaysia.
“We feel that this – reversing internal colonization — is not going to happen now given denials and counter denials being issued daily by Putrajaya’s proxies in Sabah and Sarawak,” said Daniel. “These proxies have any number of stooges with them who are willing to sell their souls to the devil himself.”
Asked for the basis on which the party is in consensus on regaining self-determination, he replied that “it would facilitate us getting out of the quicksand being created by others on the issue of internal colonization”.
“International law is clear,” he said. “We have the right to get back our self-determination of 31 Aug 1963 and any number of traitors among us is not going to derail the process.”
Again, he reiterated that Sabah and Sarawak exercised the right of self-determination and won independence on 31 Aug 1963. Self-determination, explained Daniel, is the principle in international law that “nations have the right to freely choose their sovereignty and international political status with no external compulsion – think Malayan, British — or external interference”.
However, this freedom was taken away 16 days later by “a bad British idea called Malaysia”, he added. “We were blackmailed into Malaysia by claims that Indonesia and the Philippines are like crocodiles waiting to swallow us once the British leave. No one swallowed Brunei.”
“Sabah and Sarawak should go back to 31 Aug 1963 and reclaim the independence that we won that day,” said Daniel. “That’s our right to self-determination.”
Malaysia, according to Daniel, is not working out at all for Sabah and Sarawak just as it did not work out for Singapore and was a non-starter for Brunei.
“Brunei stayed out from Malaysia at the 11th hour and Singapore left two years later,” noted Daniel. “Look, where they are now! Meanwhile, Sabah and Sarawak are the poorest states in Malaysia. This is not what we bargained for when we were literally blackmailed by Malaya and Britain into Malaysia.”
Malaysia, claimed Daniel, had in retrospect nothing to do with the welfare of the people of Sabah and Sarawak and was mooted purely to protect the British commercial empire in the wake of decolonization. It was a time of the Cold War and communism terrorism raging in the region, he noted.
He lamented that the security promised Sabah by Malaysia did not materialize and instead it had been seriously compromised by the influx of illegal immigrants continuing to enter the electoral rolls, the changing demographic make-up and character and the increasing disenfranchisement and marginalisation of the local people.
“We can’t continue to live in a state of denial,” said Daniel. “It’s time to call a spade and spade so that we can move into the future that we all want for our children and grandchildren.”
Sabah, reiterated Daniel, needs to forge its own destiny in the community of nations instead of being tied to an unhappy relationship with Peninsular Malaysia on the other side of the South China Sea, several thousand kilometers away.
The Star deputy chief conceded that his state chapter had yet to discuss re-gaining self-determination with the Sarawak chapter of the party and their allies in UBA.
Besides Star, UBA includes the Sarawak National Party (Snap), the Borneo Heritage Foundation, Borneo Forum, Common Interest Group Malaysia (CigMA), KoKaKoBa, the Oil For Future Foundation and various NGOs who are on the verge of signing up with the alliance.
“We will first finalize the consensus within Star Sabah before reaching out to Star Sabah and our other allies in UBA,” disclosed Daniel. “We can only make an official announcement once we are ready.”
It’s crystal clear, said Daniel in citing various reactions so far, that Putrajaya will not play ball on the issue of complying with the four constitutional documents and/or conventions on Malaysia.
He cited the four documents/conventions as the 1963 Malaysia Agreement (MA63); the 20/18 Points (20/18 P); the Inter Governmental Committee Report (IGCR); and the Cobbold Commission Report (CCR).
Putrajaya’s non-compliance of the four constitutional documents/conventions, claimed Daniel, rendered the Malaysian Constitution and Malaysia inoperable to the extent of the non-compliance and placed Sabah and Sarawak’s participation in the Federation as “non-existent”.
“The issue of whether we are in or out of Malaysia no longer arises,” said Daniel. “We are out and have been out since Putrajaya has been in non-compliance. This means we have gone back to the status we had on 31 Aug 1963.”
Constitutional lawyers familiar with the issue of compliance are in broad agreement that there’s no law on compliance and no mechanisms on compliance and therefore the Federal Government cannot be said to be acting unlawfully by being in non-compliance.
The other side of the coin is that the Federal Government can be said to be acting unconstitutionally by being in non-compliance, and by extrapolation and logical deduction, not acting lawfully on the issue of the participation of Sabah and Sarawak in the Federation of Malaysia.
The bottomline, it’s acknowledged, is that it’s difficult to argue with the consensus that non-compliance has meant that Sabah and Sarawak are not in Malaysia, and therefore, the two countries have the same status that they had on 31 Aug 1963 i.e. before Malaysia on 16 Sept 1963. In short, Putrajaya’s non-compliance has meant that the status of 31 Aug 1963 has never been taken away from Sabah and Sarawak or ceased to exist and has continued and continues to this day.
Daniel John Jambun
Deputy Chairman, State Reform Party (Star)
Contact: 012-834 0972
Wed 30 May, 2012