KUCHING: Parti Bumi Kenyalang (PBK), which was approved as a political party by the Registrar of Societies on August 28, 2013, will spearhead the struggle of the people of Sarawak who are dissatisfied with the Federation of Malaysia to seek the state’s exit from the federation.

“We, in Parti Bumi Kenyalang, are of the humble opinion that we have the right to exit from the Federation of Malaysia and we believe that we can do it if the people of Sarawak are behind us,” said PBK president Voon Lee Shan said in a press statement.

“If Tunku Abdul Rahman for the federation of Malaya, David Marshall and Lee Kuan Yew for Singapore and Mahatma Ghandi for India could, when backed by their people, get their countries out of colonialism from Britain through negotiations and by peaceful means, there is no reason Sarawak may not be able to exit from the Federation of Malaysia through negotiations and by peaceful means, too.

“We are of the view that being a part of the Federation of Malaysia was a big mistake,” he added.

Voon Lee Shan

Voon pointed out that past Sarawak leaders were unaware of imperialism strategies of the Federation of Malaya which expanded its control over Sarawak people and resources by not only passing laws in the federal parliament that affected the local people here but also by spreading the wings of its political parties here.

“The presence of political parties from the Federation of Malaya is seen by many Sarawakians now that the Federation of Malaya is trying to assume control over the sovereignty of Sarawak with the help of local people as their agents.

“Once they can take over the state government, there will be nothing to stop them from amending our state constitution and passing relevant state laws to allow people from the Federation of Malaya to stand for elections here, to do business and to control our economy further,” he said.

“They can also take our immigration rights away by amending the laws. This will further cause the erosion of our rights and sovereignty.

“At the same time, fighting for autonomy and restoration of Sarawak’s position as a founding member of the Federation of Malaysia as propagated by the current Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) state government is also not giving much security and comfort to us.

“This is because we have patiently waited for the past 56 years for our rights to be given back to us and the Federation of Malaya through the federal cabinet was quiet or slow to give back our rights.

“We would also say that there is no guarantee that the federal government will not take back what would be given back to us.

“The imperialism strategies of the Federation of Malaya over Sarawak, had caused much dissatisfaction among Sarawakians and this led to the promotion of Parti Bumi Kenyalang in 2007.”

Voon added Sarawakians were of the view that Sarawak was handed to the Federation of Malaya by the British government as a colony of the Federation of the Malaya.

“Debates going on now are that Singapore, Sabah and Sarawak were said handed to the Federation of Malaya as acquired territories of the Federation of Malaya. With the acquired territories, the territory of the Federation of Malaya was enlarged.

“The Federation of Malaya, after having expanded its territory, then took a new name – the Federation of Malaysia.

“Therefore, many are of the opinion that Sarawak did not join and also did not help to form the Federation of Malaysia but had been annexed or given as colonies to the Federation of Malaya since 16th September, 1963,” said Voon.

According to the PBK president, in an official United Nations record, the Juridical Yearbook 1963 mentioned that the United Nations on September 16, 1963 received a letter from the Permanent Secretary Dato’ Ong Yoke Lin of the Federation of Malaya that the Federation of Malaya changed its name to the Federation of Malaysia after Singapore, Sabah and Sarawak, became the acquired territories of the Federation of Malaya.

“The opinions of a growing number of people of Sabah and Sarawak now are that Malaya is Malaysia and Malaysia is Malaya and Sabah and Sarawak are colonies or had been treated like colonies by Malaya.”

In his press statement, Voon went on to say, “In a recent speech, a senior Sarawak cabinet minister said that we were “being treated like colonies” by people from Malaya (Dayak Daily January 19, 2019) and his remark is correct.

“We, in Parti Bumi Kenyalang, like the growing numbers of people of Sarawak, are of the opinion that the Cobbold Commission set up by the British Government as a Commission of Enquiry in 1962 to determine whether the peoples of Sabah and Sarawak supported the proposal of the creation of the Federation of Malaysia consisting of the Federation of Malaya, Brunei, Singapore, North Borneo (now Sabah) and Sarawak did not truly reflect the wishes of the people of Sarawak at that time.

“Sarawak, at the time of the Commission of Enquiry, had a population of about 800,000 people.

“Legal opinions are that the Cobbold Commission Report which was the basis for the preparation and signing of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (“MA63 Treaty”) and which was also used by the British Parliament to pass the Malaysia Act 1963 allowing the formation of the Federation of Malaysia was tainted.

“This was because only 1/3 out of about 4000 people of Sarawak was interviewed; 1/3 agreed, 1/3 disagreed and 1/3 were undecided or provided no views about the formation of Malaysia.

“It is a legal opinion that the 4000-odd people interviewed at that time could not represent the voice of the majority of the people at that time.

“We all thought that Sarawak is an equal partner with equal status within the Federation of Malaysia but we found out it is not and many things pointed to this.

“For example, there is no equal distribution of the 222 seats in the federal parliament. By right, Sabah and Sarawak should have 2/3 of these seats instead of just 25 and 31 seats in parliament respectively.

“Therefore, the combined votes of Members of Parliament from Sabah and Sarawak in the 222-seat federal parliament could not help check or oppose whatever policies and laws passed in the federal parliament that could have adverse effect on peoples of Sabah and Sarawak.

“Many powers are in the hands of the federal cabinet and the federal cabinet can always disregard the rights of Sabah and Sarawak as entrenched in the federal constitution, by passing policies detrimental to Sabah and Sarawak.

“For example, there is a constitutional right of Sabah and Sarawak to be given annual financial allocations by the federal cabinet as stated in Articles 109(1)(a) for capitation grant; 109(1)(b) state road grant; 112C(1) special grant; and 112C(1)(b) additional revenues to Sabah and Sarawak.

“Sabah and Sarawak have no remedy against the federal cabinet’s failure to enforce these rights as entrenched in the federal constitution, not even through the court, but only through the ballot box.

“This is because the order of the court will not be practical to be enforced by the governments of Sabah and Sarawak.”

Voon added in his press statement, “We all know, given the unequal distribution of parliament seats for Sabah and Sarawak, we cannot win to take over the federal cabinet because the seats in Parliament Sabah and Sarawak have will be unable to help take over the federal government.

“Forever, the Federation of Malaya will continue to dominate us in Sabah and Sarawak.

In political terms, such domination by Malaya through the federal cabinet, by acquisition of Sabah and Sarawak to enlarge its territory and by way of unequal distribution of seats in federal parliament is difficult not to be said not to tantamount to suppression and control over Sabah and Sarawak.

“Breaches or by failure to fulfill the terms and conditions in MA63 Treaty shows that Malaya is suppressing the rights of Sabah and Sarawak, thus putting itself in the position as a colonial or imperial master over Sabah and Sarawak.

“Another factor that makes Malaya able to position itself like an imperial master is when Malaya, through the federal cabinet and parliament, can control Sarawak’s economy and development.

“This could be seen by the passing of the Petroleum Development Act 1974, Territorial Seas Act 2012 and failure or reluctance of the federal government to grant or give back what are ours, as mentioned in the federal constitution.

“Each day, the federal government through Petronas is pumping about 850,000 barrels of crude oil that belong to us. We lost a revenue of about RM285 million per day from oil and gas.

“Together with marine wealth and other revenues, we lost revenues conservatively estimated to be of about RM1 billion per day. There are other revenues that are collected from us, such as from the Inland Revenue, Land Transport, Customs, Police Departments.

“Therefore, the legal and political points of view as could be gathered concerning how Sarawak became part of the Federation of Malaysia, coupled with the ineffectiveness of the federal constitution to protect our rights and how the federal cabinet controls Sarawak, it seems quite correct to say that Sarawak is a colony of the Federation of Malaysia.

“The setting up of the Federation of Malaysia was done by a secret agreement between the British and the Malayan governments signed by Harold Macmillan, for the British Government and Tunku Abdul Rahman on 31st July, 1962. This could be seen by legal experts as a breach of international law because there was collusion between these two governments from preventing the people of Sabah and Sarawak to make a choice for self-determination.

“The only solution left for us is to exit by enforcing our right of decolonisation under the United Nations Resolutions 1514 and 1541, not only by ballot box but, also by constitutional or legal means.

“Therefore, to execute our strategies to exit from the Federation of Malaysia, we, in Parti Bumi Kenyalang, urge the people of Sarawak to stand behind us to capture the state government in the coming state elections.

“By capturing the state government, we would then be able to make the necessary representations to the federal government to exit and or to take legal steps to ensure our dream for an independent Sarawak could be realised.

“The federal constitution does not say that Sarawak or Sabah for that matter, could not exit from the Federation of Malaysia. Lord Lansdowne, the Chairman of the Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) had in response to call for an exit clause in the MA63 Treaty and in the Federal Constitution, said it was not necessary for this because, “any state voluntarily entering a federation had an intrinsic right to secede at will.”

“In quest of independence, we are inspired by Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence from Serbia in 2008 in which the United Nations’ highest court, that is, the International Court of Justice headed by Hiasashi Owada, advised that, international law does not prohibit declaration of independence by colonies.

“Even if there is a provision in the federal constitution to say that Sabah and Sarawak could not exit from the Federation, the fundamental breaches to the MA63 Treaty by the federal government had, according to international law experts, caused the Treaty to collapse and the Treaty could no more make the Federation of Malaysia a sensible political union.

“With this in mind, we may get the court to decide our destiny in the event we form the government.

“Many legal experts are of the opinion that the federal constitution could not be amended to prevent Sabah and Sarawak to exit when there were serious violations of terms in the MA63 Treaty.

“The public may wish to be informed that legal experts are also of the opinion that MA63 Treaty was an improperly constituted Treaty because Singapore, Sabah and Sarawak at the time they signed the Treaty were still colonies of Great Britain.

“Being colonies, Singapore, Sabah and Sarawak could not sign MA63 Treaty. This legal opinion is based on a recent advisory opinion delivered on February 25th, 2019 by the United Nations International Court of Justice concerning the Chagos Island case.

“We, in Parti Bumi Kenyalang are seeking Sarawakians to rise to the occasion and rally behind us because in all struggles, people’s power can change political situations in a country.”

Source: Sarawak Tribune

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