Putrajaya, Whitehall may face suit over Malaysia 'Disagreement'
Sat, 09 Oct 2010 12:03 .By Charlie Rudai
PUTATAN: The Malaysian and British governments could be sued for failing to protect Sabah and the “Borneonisation” process promised in the Malaysia Agreement.
The Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) has pledged to take the governments of the two countries and the Prime Minister of Malaysia to court for dishonouring the Malaysia Agreement signed in London on July 9, 1963.
SAPP president and former Sabah chief minister Yong Teck Lee said that a clear breach of the agreement was on the “Borneonisation” of the federal public service in Sabah.
He said SAPP’s legal team had studied the matter for quite sometime and after researching the speeches of leaders from all parties and the agreement’s contents, it opined that the Malaysia Agreement was enforceable by a court of law.
“The promise of Borneonisation of the public service is well documented in the many memoranda submitted by the leaders of North Borneo and Sarawak, in the Memorandum of the Malaysia Solidarity Consultative Committee, the Cobbold Report, and the Inter-Governmental Report.
“Finally, it became a legally binding right of Sabah and Sarawak in the Malaysia Agreement,” he said when opening the annual general meeting for SAPP branches in Petagas at the home of its chief, Dullie Mari, at Kampung Muhibbah, here yesterday.
“Many Malaysians do not realise that Malaysia itself is a creation of the Malaysia Agreement... The parties to this international treaty were the United Kingdom, Federation of Malaya, Singapore, Sarawak and North Borneo (now Sabah),” he said.
He said that the agreement contained 10 articles, which are clear and easy to understand.
Yong said everybody knew that the promises by both the Malayan and British governments were broken.
“Until now, 47 years later, all we have been hearing are empty promises...” he added.
He said SAPP was not talking about the armed forces and security personnel, medical, scientific and other high-tech services under the Borneonisation process.
On the contrary, the focus is on the thousands of officers and clerical staff (from the peninsula) in many federal departments and agencies in Sabah.
“It is as though there are no capable Sabahans,” he said, adding that an example of this was the posting of 76 computer technicians (from the peninsula) to Sabah schools in April, which was strongly objected by the teacher unions in the state.
“The education minister (Muhyiddin Yassin) does not even bother to explain it. It is learnt that more than 400 computer technicians are being posted to various schools in Sabah... is this job too difficult for Sabahans?” he asked.
“We want to make it clear that Sabahans have nothing against our fellow Malaysians from the peninsula.
“But we worry about job opportunities for young Sabahans, who are increasingly facing a bleak future. If even computer technicians are posted from the peninsula, what hope do the locals have?” he asked.
Legally binding rights
Yong said that the people of Sabah sincerely believed that the federal government must honour the letter and spirit of the 1963 Malaysia Agreement, including the promise of Borneonisation of the public service.
The Inter-Governmental Report of Feb 27, 1963, had referred to the Cobbold Report of June 21, 1962, which clearly stated that the Borneonisation of the public services should proceed as quickly as possible, he added.
Yong said Lord Cobbold had recommended that “the federal services in the Borneo territories should be regionalised and officers should be appointed in the territories with sufficient authority to deal with local matters”.
“I personally recommend that when expatriate officers are no longer needed for these posts, they should normally be filled by officers from the Borneo territories”.
“But where are all these promises?” he asked.
Based on all these documents and evidence, it is clear that the people of Sabah can sue those involved in the Malaysia Agreement for dishonouring their legally binding rights, he said.
Nonetheless, Yong said legally the only party that can represent the people of Sabah in the litigation is the state government and not SAPP which doesn’t have enough locus standi to do so because it is not the state government.
“So, I would like to state here that once SAPP forms the new state government after the 13th general election, we will issue a six-month notice to the federal government to implement Borneonisation as agreed in the Malaysia Agreement 47 years ago,” he said.
Autonomous state government
Yong said that if after six months the federal government failed to make any changes, then the SAPP government would file a writ of summons against the federal government and the Prime Minister of Malaysia.
“What is there to discuss? It is not as if the agreement was only signed today but it has already been inked 47 years, so what else is there to negotiate?” he said to applause from the delegates.
To internationalise the matter, he said SAPP would go to London where the treaty was sealed and take similar action against the British government.
“They (British government) have to be responsible for what they have done,” he said.
Yong added that local leaders in the state Cabinet, mostly lawyers, knew about this.
“But, they will not dare to voice it out because they are worried of losing their positions, projects and so on... they are answerable to Kuala Lumpur. We want an autonomous state government
that answers to no one but the people of Sabah,” he said.
The former chief minister cited Lord Cobbold for his foresight when the latter wrote in his report:
“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.
"If any idea were to take root that Malaysia would involve a 'takeover' of the Borneo territories by the Federation of Malaya and the submersion of individualities of North Borneo and Sarawak, Malaysia would not, in my judgement, be generally acceptable or successful.”
Also present were SAP deputy president Liew Teck Chan; former finance minister Mohd Noor Mansoor, vice-presidents Frankie Chong and Dr Chua Soon Bui, secretary-general Richard Yong, Wanita chief Melanie Chia, Youth chief Edward Dagul, information chief Chong Pit Fah and supreme council members as well as candidates for the upcoming SAPP party election.
* UBF - Sabah, Sarawak losing points to KL
* UBF - Celoteh Pak Aji Julaihi