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Sabahans sue for ‘their rights’

 | August 8, 2011

In the suit to be filed later today, two Sabahans want the court to order Putrajaya and the Sabah government to strictly adhere to the Malaysia Agreement.

UPDATED

KOTA KINABALU: Two Sabahans today filed a summons at the High Court here against the federal and state governments over their rights as stipulated in the Malaysia Agreement.

They are seeking eight declarations from the court regarding “Borneonisation” in the state, as assured and recommended in the Report of the Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) in 1962 which precipitated the formation of Malaysia Federation a year later.

The summons by Mohd Nazib Maidan Dally, 35, and Bernard Fung Fon Chen, 70, was filed by counsel Peter Marajin through his legal firm in Kota Kinabalu.

The federal and state governments are the first and second defendants in the suit respectively.

Met after filing the summons at the court registry, Marajin said the matter will be heard before justice David Wong Dak Wah on Oct 10, 2011.

The plaintiffs are seeking:

  • A declaration that the federal government had failed and/or neglected to expeditiously and fully carry out the Borneonisation of the federal public services in Sabah;
  • A declaration that the state government had failed and/or neglected to take such legislative, executive and/or such other actions as may be required in furtherance of and to fully implement the assurances, undertakings and the recommendations contained in the Report of the Inter-Governmental Committe (IGC), 1962 dated Feb 27, 1963 in so far as the assurances, undertakings and the recommendaions relate to the Borneonisation of the federal public service in Sabah and which are not implemented by express provision of the Constitution of Malaysia;
  • A declaration that the federal government had failed and/or neglected to advise the Yang di-Pertuan Agong under Article 153(2) of the Federal Constitution to ensure the reservation for the natives of Sabah such reasonable number of positions in the public services of the federal government, in particular in Sabah;
  • A declaration that the federal had failed to fully implement the specific assurance and recommendation in paragraph 7 of Annex B to the IGC Report that the Chief Minister of Sabah shall be consulted before the Federal Cabinet shall advise the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on the reservation of reasonable number of positions in the federal public service for the Natives of Sabah;
  • A declaration that the amendment to the Federal Constitution by the repeal of Article 161A(3) by Section 8 of the Constitution (Amendment) Act 1971 (Act A30) is ultra vires Article 161E(2)(d) of the Federal Constitution as the said amendment did not receive the concurrence of the Yang di-Pertua Negeri of Sabah;
  • A declaration that the state government had failed to take such executive or other appropriate action as shall be necessary to implement the assurance and recommendation contained in paragraph 7 of Annex B to the IGC Report that before advice by the Federal Cabinet is given to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong in respect of the exercise of his powers under Article 153 such advice in relation to Sabah shall be given only after consultation with the Chief Minister of Sabah;
  • A declaration that the natives of Sabah or the people belonging to Sabah have legitimate expectation that the Borneonisation of the federal public service in the state in terms of the assurances and undertakings in the IGC shall be fully and expeditiously implemented; and
  • Costs, or such further or other relief as the Court may deem fit and proper to grant.

Test case

The summons was supported by affidavits of the two plaintiffs, Nazib and Bernard, said their action was to stop further erosion of Sabah rights and privileges.

“We are doing this not only for ourselves and the state but for our future generations so that they will be given fair treatment as contained in Malaysia agreements…” said Bernard, a police pensioner.

This is the first time such a summons has been filed against the federal and state governments regarding the Borneonisation issue.

Observers believe this will be closely-watched as it has a huge effect on the country as a whole and on Sabah’s autonomy especially.

Groups in Sabah have been demanding that the governments invoke, reinstate and fulfil the terms of the Malaysia Agreement.

Leading the call has been the Borneo Heritage Foundation’s Dr Jeffrey Kitingan.

Not anti-federal feelings

Under the banner of United Borneo Front, he has repeatedly urged the federal government to adhere to assurances, undertakings and recommendation of the 1962 IGC Report as provided in Article 8 of the Malaysia Agreement when implementing the federalisation of agencies in Sabah and Sarawak.

He said Annex B of the 1962 IGC Report specifically prioritises the ‘Borneonisation’ of public services in the Borneo states as a ‘major objective of policy and the federal and state departments and agencies should not overlap their functions.

“What should be within the purview of the state should remain strictly within the state.

“Borneonisation should therefore take precedence over the policy of federalisation,” he said adding that the increasing number of federal agencies setting up offices in Sabah had stoked fear among locals.

Earlier in December last year Tawau MP Chua Boon Bui said Borneonisation should not be read as an anti-federal government feelings.

“We are not asking more than what is stipulated in the 18-point agreement.

“We are also not asking the Malayans to kowtow to us. We are only asking what is righftfully ours,” said Chua alluding primarily to the long-overdue Borneonisation of public services in Sabah.


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