YB Miro Simuh erred when he claimed that the federal constitution prohibit all member states of the federation of Malaysia including Sarawak to leave the federation.

YB Miro Simuh has to be corrected and if not corrected the wrong would become the truth. Sarawakians and Sabahans have to be informed that there is no prohibition at all in the federal constitution if Sarawak chose to leave Malaysia peacefully and by legal means. Many international law lawyers and professors included an eminent law professor in Canada was consulted by me advised me the same too.

If there is such a prohibition, YB Miro Simuh could have pointed the relevant portion of the federal constitution for public knowledge but he could not.

YB Miro Simuh and to those who are still ignorant of the right to secede from colonialism, I wish to say that there is no law at the moment, domestic and/or international law to prohibit secession or exit from the federation.

Sarawakians have to be reminded that Sarawak and Sabah were once colonies of the United Kingdom but the United Kingdom never granted us independence. Therefore, to say Sarawak had been granted independence by the United Kingdom was wrong. There was no Independence Act passed by the United Kingdom Parliament to grant Sarawak independence. Instead, Sabah and Sarawak were given as a gift by the United Kingdom to Malaya. It was free.

In fact, the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 1514(XV) (“UNGAR 1514) gives right of peoples under colonial or alien domination or foreign occupation to self-determination. This right gives rights to colonies to decide for themselves to seek independence from foreign control of their countries. Malaysia being a member state of the United Nations, has to respect this UNGAR 1514 if Sabah and Sarawak seeks independence by peaceful and legal means.

I wish to mention what Thomas Franck, a law professor and an international law expert from New York, said when consulted on the case of Quebec seceding from Canada, and what Lord Lansdowne, the Inter-Governmental Committee(IGC) said to support my opinion of the right to seek independence. Thomas Franck, said “It cannot seriously be argued today that international law prohibits secession.”

Before Malaysia was formed, Lord Lansdowne, the Chairman of the Inter-Governmental Committee in response in a call for an “exit-clause” the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (“MA63”) 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”.

Therefore, it is clear that an “exit clause” is not necessary in the Federal Constitution to allow exit from the Federation of Malaysia by Sabah and Sarawak.

Even if there is a provision to say that Sabah and Sarawak could not secede from the federation, I was advised by many legal experts that the fundamental breaches to the MA63 signed by the Federation of Malaya with Sabah and Sarawak (Singapore was a signatory but left Malaysia in 1965) had caused the Federation of Malaysia to become no more a sensible political union, and this should give Sabah and Sarawak the right to secede from Malaysia.

The breaches in MA63 are irreparable and it was breached soon after Malaysia was formed on 16 September, 1963. There is no provision for reform when the terms and conditions are breached because MA63 does not provide for this.

MA63 is an international agreement (Treaty) and therefore, any part in the Federal Constitution, if there is, that disallows secession should be void as the MA63, being an international agreement, is a superior document to the Constitution.

Therefore, there is an intrinsic right to exit as there is nothing to prevent Sabah and Sarawak to seek and exit from the federation of Malaysia by peaceful and legal means.

It is noted that Singapore exited from the federation of Malaysia after social, economic and political difference between Singapore and Malaysia or Malaya could not be resolved.

Legal experts also are of the opinion that Malaysia is not a new nation but a change of name by Malaya to Malaysia effective 16 September, 1963 after a letter was sent by Dato Ong Yoke Lin of Malaya to the United Nations Secretariat. Therefore, the name of Malaysia refers to Malaya and Malaya refers to Malaysia. The change of name by Malaya to Malaysia could be read from the United Nations Juridical Year Book 1963

VOON LEE SHAN
PRESIDENT PARTI BUMI KENYALANG
5 JANUARY 2024

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