London visit documents to be discussed at Sarawak assembly meeting

Sharifah-Hasidah-sarawakKUCHING: The findings of the team that went to London to collect documents pertaining to the formation of Malaysia will be discussed at the next Sarawak State Legislative Assembly meeting.

Assistant Minister of Law, State-Federal Relations and Project Monitoring Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali said that was the best forum to discuss the contents of documents related to safeguarding the special interests of Sarawak obtained from London in July.

In a press statement, she said it would not be in the interest of the state to hold public discussions on the documents right now.

Sharifah Hasidah was responding to a statement by Bandar Kuching MP Chong Chieng Jen that he could not understand the silence on the matter almost three months after the London visit. He had asked if it had been a waste of taxpayer money.

“All the hoo-haa about going to London has added no extra edge to Sarawak’s fight for autonomy except extra holidays for those involved at the expense of the tax payers’ money.

“Nothing has come up from the whole thing except for the technical committee,” the Sarawak DAP chairman had told a press conference.

The Borneo Post quoted Sharifah Hasidah as saying: “The upcoming session of the Dewan Undangan Negeri would be the right forum to do so.”

Sharifah Hasidah said the documents were important to support the state’s stand in its discussions with the federal government on devolution of powers and to reclaim those constitutional rights which belonged to the state.

They were also important if there was to be full implementation of all the recommendations contained in the Inter-Governmental Committee Report 1963 to safeguard the special interests of the state.

On Chong’s claim that the book British Documents on the End of the Empire, published by the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London, contained “all correspondences, including telegrams exchanges that led to the formation of Malaysia”, she said:

“The mission which I led is not just confined to documents which are already in that book, but to other important constitutional matters which will reinforce the state’s rights, such as the state’s rights over the continental shelf, territorial sea, off-shore oil mining prior to and after Malaysia Day.”

She said there were also documents in classified or confidential files which had been sent to London by the outgoing colonial administration prior to Malaysia Day, in accordance with a British government circular that the new independent government should not have access to them.

“The state government has already requested the British National Archives to make copies of these documents and to authenticate the important ones. These documents will soon be delivered to the state government.”