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‘M’sia should have been a federation of three nations’ (Free Malaysia Today)

Civil society activist Haris Ibrahim says the original agreement in 1963 called for the setting up of the Federation of Malaysia as three separate nations.

PETALING JAYA: United Borneo Front (UBF) chief Jeffrey Kitingan wants two administrative systems to be implemented in Malaysia but civil rights activist Haris Ibrahim says this is not in the spirit of the 1963 Borneo Agenda.

Instead, Haris suggests that Malaysia should have been a federation of three nations.

The UBF is pushing for a “1-Country, 2-Systems” type of administration in Malaysia – one for Peninsular Malaysia and the other for Sabah and Sarawak.

Jeffrey said this was in line with its Borneo Agenda and aspiration to restore political autonomy to Sabah and Sarawak.

Speaking at its recent Borneo Tea Party gathering and Hari Raya open house held in Dataran Bengkoka, Pitas, Jeffrey said the vast distance between the two regions with the South China Sea between them emphasised their differences.

“The differences in indigenous people, culture, language and heritage should be taken into consideration in the administration of the Borneo states of Sabah and Sarawak in addition to the historical fact that Sabah and Sarawak together with Singapore and Malaya formed the Federation of Malaysia on Sept 16, 1963,” he said.

Responding to this today, Haris wrote in his blog: “The then federation of Malaya, Singapore, North Borneo and Sarawak had agreed to come together and, without any loss or reduction in their respective status as independent sovereign nations, form the federation of Malaysia as equal nation-state partners within that new federation.”

He backed his view by quoting clause three of Sabah’s 20-Point Agreement, which reads: “Whilst accepting that the present Constitution of the Federation of Malaya should form the basis of the Constitution of Malaysia, the Constitution of Malaysia should be a completely new document drafted and agreed in the light of a free association of states and should not be a series of amendments to a Constitution drafted and agreed by different states in totally different circumstances.”

Haris argued that Jeffrey’s proposal did not honour the 18 and 20 points signed respectively by Sarawak and Sabah.

“Jeffrey’s proposal, most respectfully, does not come any where close to pressing for honouring of the agreement of 1963.

“It merely serves to entrench further what has been done thus far: the surreptitious subsuming of Sabah and Sarawak into the Federation of Malaya as the 12th and 13th states.”

Malaysia was formed with the participation of Sabah, Sarawak, Federation of Malaya and Singapore in 1963. Two years later, Singapore pulled out.


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