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‘Votes in GE will be referendum for change’

 | July 18, 2012

Some 238,125 Sabahans have signed State Reform Party's (STAR) petition calling for a review of the Malaysia Agreement signed in 1963.

KOTA KINABALU: Whatever the outcome of the 13th general election, the votes casts for the State Reform Party (STAR) will be seen as a referendum by the people of Sabah for a review of the Malaysia Agreement signed in London on July 9, 1963.

According to human rights activists Patrick Sindhu, all votes garnered by the party will be forwarded – together with some 300,000 signatures of a petition calling for the review of the document – to the Britain’s Constitutional Reform advisor Lord Anthony Paul Lester and the Queen’s private secretary.

The 20-point Malaysia Agreement was the basis on which Sabah, which was then known as British North Borneo, agreed to join Malaya, Singapore and Sarawak to form a new federation – Malaysia.

Sindhu said the 20-Points Agreement should had been reviewed after Singapore was expelled from Malaysia on Aug 9, 1965 but that did not happen.

The question now, he said, “is that whether the agreement is null and void”.

Sindhu, who is a member of the Geneva-based Human Rights Commisson, was appointed by STAR to head its Malaysia Agreement Review Panel. A signature campaign in relation to the issue was launched on July 9, last year at the Batu Sumpah Keningau (Keningau Oath Stone) in Keningau.

The stone is a monument erected by community leaders in the Interior of Sabah to commemorate the terms by which North Borneo, Sarawak and the other states of the Federation of Malaya had agreed to form Malaysia.

The terms of reference of the panel includes – research on the status of the Malaysia Agreement 1963, coordination and discussions with legal and constitutional law experts on the Malaysia Agreement, 1963 and related documents.

‘Overwhelming response’

Instituting legal court case, internationally and or locally, to determine the validity of the Malaysia Agreement, 1963 and any or other matters related or arising from the Malaysia Agreement, 1963.

Said Sindhu: “Irrespective of whether the coming poll is in favour of Barisan Nasional or the opposition, I will leave for London after the general election to submit the petition to the British Government,” he told FMT here today.

Sindhu, a supreme council member of the Jeffrey Kitingan-led STAR disclosed that he had met Queen’s Counsel Lester, who is the Baron of Herne Hill, on the agreement and had advised him (Sindhu) to make the necessary move to rectify matters pertaining to the agreement that had been breached.

On the signature campaing, he said it had a overwhelming response from the people and at the last count there were 238,125 from Sabah, 27, 480 collected in Sarawak and 5,216 from Peninsula Malaysia.

Sindhu hopes that the petition will allow the agreement to be reassessed through the courts between the government of Malaysia and the British government.

“July 9, this year marked 49 years the agreement was signed and still many of what were agreed upon been breached or not followed,” he said, amongst others that Sabah and Sarawak should be autonomous.

Sindhu said history has it that the late Father of Independence Tunku Abdul Rahman al-Haj had on Aug 30, 1963 stated that: “The granting of self-government would enable Sabah to stand on its own feet as equal with Malaya, Sarawak and Singapore.”

However, he said there has been a series of violations of the Agreement including the demotion of Sabah and Sarawak from equal partners status to being the 12th and 13th States leading the to the questioning of the legality of the Malaysia Agreement by many parties.

The departure of Singapore from the Federation in 1965 has further fueled the controversy on the validity and legality of the Agreement.


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