Monday, March 09, 2015

Something positive happened in Sabah

Sunrise on Mount Kinabalu

We in Semenanjung only learn to appreciate that the formation of Malaysia was not the same as Merdeka during the administration of Pak Lah when Hari Malaysia was made part of the extended celebration of Merdeka. In 1963, it was planned for August 31st but delayed by 16 days due to some international issues.

We in Semenanjung take for granted the formation of Malaysia but in Sabah, every other person knows the history behind it by hard.

No discussion in politics with Sabahan will escape their open dissatisfaction for the alleged breach of the 20 points agreement by the Federal Government. Documents like Cobbold report, Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) Report, Malaysia agreement etc flow like water when they discussed the issue. Such agreement does not exist but the agreed points, among many other agreed points, are there in these documents.

However, like everything else in Malaysia, so does in Sabah, politicians have played their part in the issue. The line between fact or fiction; truth and false are blurred. Spin and manipulation have creeped in.

Since our posting "Debunking Jeffrey's 20-points agreement"on September 13, 2013, we have learnt more on the subject, met people and experts conversant and honest in their understanding of the subject, and naturally understand it better.

And, we begin to know the real player and who are just reading their lines. Also the sincere, the opportunist and the evil destroyer.

We emphatise with Sabah and would like to see Sabah and Sabahan develop and prosper as well as us in Semenanjung. It breaks our heart to see poverty still exist in East Malaysia.

If it possible, Malaysians living in the interior should have the same quality of life as other Malaysians living in the rest of the country.

Such disputes should end and solution put in place. The past must be put behind immediately to allow us to move forward.

Over the weekend, something we consider as positive happened in a forum at UMS, Kota Kinabalu which was attended by representatives of various vocal parties in this issue.

Bernama report in FMT, below:
Negotiation ‘only way’ to settle Sabah problems

March 7, 2015

Forum on Malaysia Agreement urged to put aside political differences.

KOTA KINABALU: Negotiation is the only way to address issues affecting the people in Sabah, according to panelists at a forum, Agreement of the Formation of Malaysia 1963, today.

The 12-member panel concurred that it was the best solution to satisfy disgruntled groups who bring up issues such as Sabah’s 20-point memorandum in the Malaysia Agreement 1963.

The panellists also agreed that for Sabahans to get their demands and rights recognised, constant negotiation need to be held among the Federal and State governments, politicians, academicians as well as legal practitioners.

“Yes. Let us sit together and put aside our political differences to resolve this issue,” said Anifah Aman, the MP for Kimanis, who moderated the forum.

The forum was held in conjunction with the Publicity and Public Diplomacy Programme organised by the Foreign Ministry and University Malaysia Sabah. Anifah is also foreign minister.

Umno lawyer Shafee Abdullah said the ethnic groups in Sabah must not merely be “sleeping partners” in matters concerning their rights, such as the right to learn their native languages in schools.

“You must negotiate all the time. But it must be done in a civil manner. I don’t see why the government will not listen,” he said.

Another panellist, Sabah political analyst Zainal Ajmain said it was crucial for the people in Sabah to grasp the essence of the Malaysia Agreement.

“In studying the formation of Malaysia, there is a need to understand the Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) Report 1962 on the proposed Federation of Malaysia; the Federal Constitution; and the Malaysia Agreement.

“Based on the Constitution, our status is not ‘lower’ but equal,” he said.

Bingkor assemblyman Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan said the 20-point memorandum should be respected by all so that no one would have any reason to raise the idea of Sabah’s secession from Malaysia.

“Go back to former Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman’s promise that there would not be any interference by peninsula Malays in the absolute rights of Sabahans,” asserted Jeffrey, who is also Sabah State Reform Party chairman.

Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) Datuk Yong Teck Lee shared similar views that the 20-point memorandum should be acknowledged by all parties.

The Star reported:
Published: Saturday March 7, 2015 MYT 9:37:00 PM
Updated: Sunday March 8, 2015 MYT 9:22:02 AM

Forum: Sabah has Constitutional right to 40% of government revenue from state

by muguntan vanar

Edmon Bon

KOTA KINABALU: A Constitutional safeguard that guarantees Sabah 40% of net revenue earned by the Federal Government from the state became the centre of discussion at a forum on state rights.

The forum, featuring 12 panellists on "The Agreement to Formation of Malaysia 1963" moderated by Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman at Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) discussed at length issues faced by Sabah and the erosion of its rights.

Among the panellists were peninsular-based lawyers Edmund Bon and Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, who said that many state rights were spelt out in the Constitution and it was up to Sabah to pursue it.

Bon said the right to get back 40% of net revenue received from Sabah by Government was written in the Constitution.

Another panellist, Sabah activist Zainal Ajamain, noted that it was an area worth pursuing as the Inter-Governmental Report (for the formation of Malaysia) had also agreed that the Federal Government would provide financial guarantees to the state, including topping-up any budget deficit.

"Since 1963 we have never invoked it," Zainal said at the forum attended by some 1,000 UMS students, local NGOs and other parties.

Shafee said that for Sabahan to pursue their interests in the Federation, they should be "active, not sleeping partners".

Others in the panel included former chief minister Datuk Yong Teck Lee, who spoke about unmet promises for Sabahans to take over federal civil service jobs, while State Reform Party (STAR) Sabah chairman Dr Jeffrey Kitingan said there was room for negotiation to keep Malaysia intact.

Anifah, who is a Sabahan, when wrapping up the forum said that it was important for leaders and people in the state to be united in efforts to seek state rights.

"This is a good start. We can study various issues raised and pursue it as it is the right of the state," he said, adding that it was not a good idea to seek secession in view of the geo-political situation in the region.
Before anyone get political and start whacking at Edmon Bon and call him an evil pro-Pakatan lawyer, there is truth or at least factual basis to what he said.

There is a clause 24 sub-para 8 in the IGC report and we share it below:

Like everything else in any agreement or consensus, there are exceptions and conditions to anything agreed. That could be the basis as to why certain agreed points are not abide to. The Federal Government will have start singing.

And, there are solutions for the way out of it as in clause 24 sub-para 9, below:

For Sabahan to claim for "back pay", it would be an unrealistic and the sum insurmountable. A more realistic solution could be "negotiated".

Anifah Aman is right. It is pointless to even consider of secessation as it will not benefit either parties and the region's stability. Quite a man to be able to put all these parties together.

Knowing the warm and friendly, peace-loving, but straight forward Sabahans, quite sure a feasible solution will come. It is far better than hitting it to the streets.

If only PKR, other political parties and NGOs realised that the public is sick with demonstration. It leads to nowhere but anarchy and chaos.

A court judgement is a court judgement. No one should be above the law.

For the rest of Malaysia, there is something positive that can be learned and to be emulated from Sabah politics.

The power chase must not come at compromising the nation's interest as done by some. Sometimes partisanship should be cast aside for the sake of common interest.


Anonymous said...

Absolutely, there's no such thing as one higher than the other among Sabahans and Sarawakians and those in the Semenanjong. We are all Malaysian citizens. Equal in every respect.

Except where provided in the Constitution, like in Article 153 which stipulates the Special Position of the Malays and the Bumiputeras. Which, in my reckoning, means the Malays in the Peninsular and the Bumiputeras of Sabah and Sarawak are equal, having that Special Position.

Yes, there has been no adequate explanation, not only of everybody's rights, but also no references to the authorities or the sources of those rights like as in Article 153. For example, Edmund Bon should have pointed out the Article, Clause and sub-clauses that say Sabah is entitled to the 40% of revenues collected from the state. Maybe he stated it but was not mentioned in the media report. And don't expect the average reader to want to scour for such info from the Constitution or agreements concerned.

Glad that this blogger ABW publishes the relevant clause 24 sub-para 8 in the Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) report for a better understanding. But excuse me for still being unclear and hopes he or some others would tell: how binding is the IGC report after the Constitution of Malaysia was debated and approved by Parliament, incorporating the rights and interests of Sabah and Sarawak.

I had thought that all matters in that Report that were relevant and deemed necessary by the British Government (which ruled Sabah and Sarawak then) and the Malayan Government had been taken into account and incorporated in the Constitution and that the IGC Report was only a reference.

However, if not so, would some one kindly point out the Clauses in the Constitution that say the Malaysian Government (which Sabah and Sarawak have also been represented since the formation of Malaysia) is required to implement what’s in the IGC Report.

If the IGC Report is not stated in the Constitution and if it is still binding i.e not superseded by any other instrument of law, then yes, it’s implementation is subject to negotiation.

I'd be glad to get clarification from any one on the above.

Anonymous said...

Surely you mean "secession", not "cessation"?

A Freudian slip on your part? Or an expression of deeper intent?

In any case, it is scandalous that rural poverty still persists in the interior of Sabah.

How is this possible in 2015?

If Sabah is viewed as a "fixed deposit" for the BN, then what is the "interest" that the state has earned on this "fixed deposit"?

Anonymous said...

I cannot find anything in the Constitution that relates to the subject of the post, except Article 112C. Special grants and assignment of revenue to States of Sabah and Sarawak

Excerpts -

112C. (1) Subject to the provisions of Article 112D and to any limitation expressed in the relevant section of the Tenth Schedule —

(a) the Federation shall make to the States of Sabah and Sarawak in respect of each financial year the grants specified in Part IV of that Schedule; and

b) each of those States shall receive all proceeds from the taxes, fees and dues specified in Part V of that Schedule, so far as collected, levied or raised within the States, or
such part of those proceeds as is so specified.

There you are. It is mandatory that "all proceeds from the taxes, fees and dues specified in Part V of that Schedule, so far as collected, levied or raised within the States" be paid to them. There is no question about that.

I'm not sure if the 40% is referred to in the above wording. But this is the Constitution, the highest law of the land. I'm damn sure what is due to Sabah and Sarawak per the Constitution has been and is being paid. It's not imaginable that they are not paid all these years since 1963. No question even of "negotiation" and I wonder what lawyer TS Shafee meant when he said that.

But then, I'm not a lawyer. Perhaps a lawyer can help explain some more.

Anonymous said...

Could anyone please point out the authority or the source of the information stating that the Federal Government is obliged or required to implement the 20 Points agreement or IGC Report.

Or that the 20 Points have not been acted upon or incorporated in the Constitution etc.

Or that none of the 20 Points have been acted since the formation of Malaysia in 1963.

Anonymous said...

DAP Sabah of course exploits any mention that Sabah should get more from the Federal government. The 40% revenue etc.

DAP Sabah vice chief asked parties in Sabah to resolve the issues pertaining to Sabah's 20 point memorandum and Malaysia Agreement 1963.

But no mention of the specific authority that empowers them to do so. And no explanation or proof that those have not been fulfilled by the Federal Government. When DAP says it, it sounds very much like Opposition propaganda.

The 20 Point Memorandum and the Malaysia Agreement 1963 must have been dated before the formation of Malaysia. The British Government, which ruled Sabah and Sarawak until after the formation of Malaysia, must have ensured whatever was due to the two states are protected and incorporated in the draft Constitution of Malaysia, which was subsequently debated and approved by Parliament.

The British cannot be thought of as stupid in not ensuring those and allowing the existence of Malaysia, with Sabah and Sarawak in it, if those rights of the two states are not clearly spelt out. And, as has been pointed out, those are stated in Aeticle 112 of the Constitution of Malaysia.

And no one has said otherwise up to now.

A Voice said...

Anon 2.22

You are right. It was seccesation. Keyboard didnt pick up the pressed s and e.

Nothing sinister.

Anonymous said...

A Voice 3:40 PM

Not to be pedantic, but it is "secession", not "seccesation"!

I am glad it's a typo, not something

Btw, this whole "Fixed Deposit" analogy is so yesterday. I doubt that young Sabahans and Sarawakians think of themselves as "currency" to be totted up when computing the quantum of the "Fixed Deposit"!

And if the BN continues to harbour this anachronistic paternalistic attitude towards Sabah and Sarawak....

Anonymous said...

6:18 PM,

You may think you are not pedantic. But you sure want to split hairs. Are you bald, jealous of others having full crops of hair? Argument full of Logic, eh?

The message was clear, why would you want to fuss about it? Trying to be clever arr? And for saying lol, you are a dol?

And what's wrong with the term "Fixed Deposit"? What is "anachronistic paternalistic" about that term? Intoxicated by the exuberance of your own verbosity, eh?

And what is not yesterday? You don't like history? DAP-ish? Or you are an anarchist, instigator, trouble maker?

Be responsible, man. Criticize, but give your reasons and arguments. Not the usual Oppo Hippo "wild, unsubstantiated and unjustified allegations."

Are you what Pakatan Rakyat is made of? Pity.

Anonymous said...

#8:42 PM

Oh, please - would you have us believe that everything is A-ok "syiok sendiri" in Sabah and Sarawak?

Quick question: do you know how many Sabahans and Sarawakians are working as unskilled and semi-skilled labor in Singapore? As cleaners, gardeners, construction workers, security guards, shop assistants etc?

Of course, you don't! Because in your mind, semua ok in Sabah and Sarawak.

Isn't it pitiful (and an indictment of the respective state governments) that Sabahans and Sarawakians have to "cari makan" in a foreign land, away from family, loved ones and friends?

I bet you that the thought never even crossed your mind.

My Say