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NGOs say Prof James Chin's "10-Point Agreement" Reflects Failure of the Federation to Honour MA63

Prof James Chin proposed a "10-Point Agreement".

NGOs do not see any future for Sabah & Sarawak to remain in Malaysia

3rd December 2023

This is a joint statement by Sabah, Sarawak NGOs - namely Borneo Plight in Malaysia Foundation (Bopimafo), Sabah Sarawak Rights Australia New Zealand (SSRANZ), Saya Anak Sarawak (SAS) and Parti Bumi Kenyalang (PBK):

Mssrs Daniel John Jambun, Robert Pei and Peter John Jaban, the respective presidents of the 3 NGOs and PBK President Voon Lee Shan have issued a joint statement commenting on Professor James Chin’s “10-point Agreement” calling for “re-affirmation” of Sabah and Sarawak secular and pluralist rights under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) on the occasion of the 60 anniversary of the shaky federation.

“Chin’s 10-point agreement calls for the dream and promise of the Federation of Malaysia for the people of Sabah and Sarawak to be fulfilled without delay; reaffirm Sabah and Sarawak as equal partners with Malaya in the formation of the Federation of Malaysia; and reaffirm the unique status of the Borneo states under Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution, distinct from the 11 states in Peninsular Malaysia, as enshrined in the Malaysia Agreement of 1963.

It also seeks to reaffirm that Sabah and Sarawak each possess exclusive territorial rights over the resources that are within their own territorial boundaries; reaffirm that every community in Sabah and Sarawak has the right to their distinct unique cultures and ceremonial expression, identity and language; reaffirm that Sabah and Sarawak as secular states, multi-religious society as promised by our forefathers; and reaffirm that all Sabahans and Sarawakians are equal citizens, and reject all forms of racism, religious intolerance, and supremacist ideology.” (quote: Borneo Post 30/11/23)

They noted that the Professor had summed up the widespread dissatisfaction of the people with the multiple and continuing violations of their fundamental MA63 rights by the Malaysian Federal government over 60 years. These have remained unfulfilled “dreams” and illusions.

They include the illegal alteration of the MA63 secular, pluralist and multicultural concept of Malaysia, Borneonisation, autonomous self-government, religious freedom, denial of citizenship and failure to develop and advance Sabah and Sarawak as agreed. This is starkly heightened by the lopsided economic development whereby Malaya has been developed with Sabah and Sarawak resources particularly oil and gas, while they have been left backward and impoverished with little progress even in basic structures and amenities.

The unhappiness recently flared up over the TV Sarawak’s Christmas Carol programme which rejected the Association of Churches in Sarawak’s (ACA) request to include the song “O Holy Night” in the programme because of official policy excluding “religious elements”. The ACA declined to join the celebration and issued a statement strongly criticising the censorship and asserting the religious freedom and secular nature of Sarawak society. This received popular support throughout Sarawak and the TV station management quickly backed down on the exclusion of the song.

In Sabah, there is a similar dissatisfaction over the failure to honour MA63 founding terms such as the MA63 stipulated payment of (Art 121D) 40% entitlement to annual tax revenue among many other issues especially lack of development, poverty and the “illegals” issue.

The NGOs and PBK presidents said, however, that it is doubtful that the re-affirmation would have any impact on the Malayans who have evaded honouring the MA63 for 60 years as exemplified by the denial of Sabah’s MA63 40% entitlement.

They said that the concept of a secular, pluralist and multicultural political system was one of several key basic or foundational terms for Sabah and Sarawak to give up real independence for Malaysia. However, this concept has since the implementation of the New Economic Policy in 1971 been altered and replaced with an institutionalised race religion supremacist (Ketuanan Melayu) apartheid.

Further, it is unlikely that even if the Unity government agreed with the 10 Points, it would be able to gain any support from the Opposition which is made up of committed race religion fundamentalists sworn to dismantle the secular concept and replace Malaysia as an Iranian or Afghanistan style Islamic Caliphate and Constitution. The same people have declared that “Malaysia belonged to the Malays”.

Mr Voon the PBK president said that it was ironic the Professor had previously criticised PBK for seeking legal advice from a foreign lawyer who declared that Malaysia was a fraud. 

He said that the professor's 10-point call for re-affirmation of Sabah Sarawak rights in reality confirmed that Malaysia was created with promises which never fulfilled or have been removed and therefore were misleading and a fraud. 

He cited the British colonial office as having commented with concern in 1963 that the Malayans' promise that SS would have "accelerated development" in Malaysia was a "false prospectus". 

Mr Voon who filed a suit in the High Court of Borneo in 2021 to declare MA63 invalid, said the process of making MA63 was riddled with illegalities and deceit. 

Legal analysis of the making of MA63 has proven that it was, in fact, a null and void agreement from the beginning. This was because Singapore, North Borneo (Sabah) and Sarawak were still British-controlled colonies and not sovereign states with the legal capacity or competence to make international agreements. This view is supported by the International Court of Justice decision in the Chagos case 2019 and affirmed by the Mauritius vs. Maldives case iin 2021.

If MA63 was a validly made international treaty, it would have been terminated under International law, by the multiple violations of foundational and basic terms of the agreement and rendered it no longer binding. Either way, Sabah and Sarawak have the opportunity to seek independence which would free them to determine their own political destiny and social and economic development without foreign control.

The joint statement pointed out that the 20 and 18 Points were not binding agreements but just an expression of the people's desired terms for the federation. They said that there is no evidence of the agreements being signed with the UK or Malayan governments. According to the British colonial officials, the Sarawak 18 Points were never provided to them. They noted some of Sabah's Points like the "No State religion" stipulation was included in the Federal Constitution.

They questioned whether it was realistic to re-affirm the unfulfilled promises and prolong a union without meaning and benefit when it is so obvious that the agreed objectives of MA63 were never fulfilled but in fact, abandoned for 60 years. They said Sabah and Sarawak should look at the alternative solution of seeking an exit from the failed union.

They called on the respective Sabah and Sarawak state governments to seek a review of SS's position in Malaysia after the PAS party repeatedly rejected the concept of Malaysia as a secular country and the federation's failure to honour what was promised. It is widely anticipated that the PAS fundamentalist party will implement its Islamic Caliphate when it wins power and controls the Malaysian Parliament in a couple of elections time. The NGOs said the review of MA63 (if valid) would be timely and it was essential since it has already long been terminated by multiple breaches of fundamental terms for federation.

Sabah and Sarawak must seek lawful and peaceful means to Decolonise itself and work towards sovereign Independent nations. 

End of Statement  
Signed by 
Daniel John Jambun  Bopimafo President 
Robert Pei SSRANZ President
Peter John Jaban SAS founder
Voon Lee Shan PBK President

3 December 2023

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