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20-point pact: ‘Make your stand clear’

 | June 2, 2012

The 20-point document is an internationally-acknowledged multiparty agreement which cannot be unilaterally violated, claims a Sabah MP.

TAWAU: The federal and the state Barisan Nasional governments have been urged to make their stand clear on the issue of the 20-point agreement which underpinned the pact to form Malaysia in 1963 together with Sarawak, Singapore and Malaya.

MP for Tawau, Chua Soon Bui, said that a clarification on the issue was appropriate following a controversial statement by State Legislative Assembly Speaker Salleh Keruak recently that the agreement guaranteeing Sabah’s special rights after the formation of Malaysia, was no longer valid as such safeguards are already part of the Federal Constitution.

Chua, who is also vice-president of Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP), said the relevance of the 20-point agreement was highlighted in the High Court ruling over the Borneonisation suit on May 25, when judge David Wong Dak Wah dismissed the application by both the federal and state governments to strike out a suit filed by two Sabahans.

“Since the judge ruled that the suit and the claim are not frivolous, the relevance of the 20-point agreement is also clearly indicated,” she said.

Chua said Salleh’s statement came as a shock as both the 20-point agreement for Sabah and the 18-point agreement for Sarawak are internationally-acknowledged multiparty agreements which cannot be unilaterally violated by the federal government.

She contended that although only parts of the 20-point agreement were legally binding when they were incorporated in the constitution, it did not mean that the 20-point agreement was invalid or irreverent.

“Although the 20-point agreement is not binding in totality, the Sabah state government has the right to demand its full restoration instead of voluntarily surrendering such rights, as suggested by the Speaker.

“It is high time the federal government reassured such rights in their original form to Sabah and Sarawak,” she said.

Comprehensive agreement
She also questioned the rationale and motive behind Salleh’s statement which meant relinquishing the rights fought for by the previous Sabah leaders.

“We should be thankful to our former state leaders for wisely moulding such a comprehensive agreement to safeguard the rights and interests of the people of Sabah for many generations to come and not simply discard them as Salleh seemed to have done,” she said.

Former police inspector Bernard Fung Fon Chen, 70, and former teacher Mohd Nazib Maidan Dally, 35, filed the suit last year seeking a declaration from the court that the federal and state governments had “failed and/or neglected to expeditiously and fully carry out the Borneonisation of the federal public service in the state”.

Last Saturday, Salleh told a gathering that the 20-point agreement that paved the way for the then British North Borneo colony to join in the formation of Malaysia in 1963 was no longer valid as much of it was already incorporated in the Federal Constitution.


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