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Did Najib lie to the nation?

 | March 9, 2013

Najib is wrong in making unilateral claims that Sabah belongs to Malaysia when historical legal documents and agreements may indicate otherwise.

COMMENT

According to the Manila Accord signed on July 31, 1963 and registered in the United Nations as document No. 8029, then Malayan deputy prime minister Abdul Razak Hussein (late father of the present Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak) met up with foreign minister Dr Subandrio of Indonesia, and vice-president Emmanuel Pelaez of the Philippines in Manila for five days from June 7 to 11, 1963, to discuss about the status of Sabah.

Consequently, it was agreed in writing by former Malayan prime minister Tunku Abdul Rahman together with president Soekarno of Indonesia and president Diosdado Macapagal of the Philippines in paragraph 12 thereof:

“The Philippines made it clear that its position on the inclusion of North Borneo in the Federation of Malaysia is subject to the final outcome of the Philippines’ claim to North Borneo. The ministers took note of the Philippines’ claim and the right of the Philippines to continue to pursue it in accordance with international law and the principle of the pacific settlement of disputes. They agreed that the inclusion of North Borneo in the Federation of Malaysia would not prejudice either the claim or any right thereunder. Moreover, in the context of their close association, the three countries agreed to exert their best endeavours to bring the claim to a just and expeditious solution by peaceful means, such as negotiation, conciliation, arbitration, or judicial settlement as well as other peaceful means of the parties’ own choice, in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations and the Bandung Declaration.”

Subsequently on Aug 5, 1963 in a joint statement released to international media, the same also agreed in writing under paragraph 8 thereof:

“In accordance with paragraph 12 of the Manila Accord, the three Heads of Government decided to request the British Government to agree to seek a just and expeditious solution to the dispute between the British Government and the Philippines Government concerning Sabah (North Borneo) by means of negotiation, conciliation and arbitration, judicial settlement, or other peaceful means of the parties’ own choice in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations. The three Heads of Government take cognizance of the position regarding the Philippines claim to Sabah (North Borneo) after the establishment of the Federation of Malaysia as provided under paragraph 12 of the Manila Accord, that is, that the inclusion of Sabah (North Borneo) in the Federation of Malaysia does not prejudice either the claim or any right thereunder.”

It was undoubtedly stated from the above provisions of the Manila Accord and joint statement that:

  • the inclusion of Sabah into the formation of Malaysia is subject to the Philippines claim; and
  • the Philippines’ claim on Sabah must be settled in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) run by the United Nations.

Therefore, until such time when the ICJ has decided, Malaysia does not have absolute ownership of Sabah.

Yesterday, Najib made the following statement at a press conference in Lahad Datu: “The question of Sabah within Malaysia should not be disputed by anyone. Let not anyone underestimate Malaysia’s commitment to have Sabah within Malaysia forever. No one can dispute this, from within and outside the country. We will uphold the principle and fact of Sabah within Malaysia absolutely”.

Now, with the involvement of the two late former prime ministers of Malaysia – Tunku Abdul Rahman and Abdul Razak Hussein – in the Manila Accord and joint statement which contained straightforward and unambiguous stipulations, the question that begged to be answered now is: why did Najib lie to the whole nation without even blinking his eyes?

By refusing to honour the Manila Accord and backtracking on the joint statement, has Najib not figuratively slapped the Philippines and Indonesia which were signatories to the historic documents?

Internationally, is Najib not telling the whole world, especially foreign investors, that what Malaysia agrees and signs at any time may not be fulfilled or respected at Malaysia’s whims and fancies?

How are Malaysians going to face anyone overseas when our own prime minister has made us the butt of jokes and the laughing stock of the world?

Effectively, he has also slapped each and every Malaysian who has an ounce of dignity.

The writer is a former Sabah tour operator; loves food and speed; and blogs at http://legalandprudent.blogspot.com giving no quarters. The opinion and interpretation heretofore contained are exclusively his alone.


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