KOTA KINABALU: Those tasked with bringing matters pertaining to the Malaysian Agreement 1963 (MA63) at the federal level must have a clear understanding of how the agreement really works.
Local activist Zainnal Ajamain opined that this does not just happen among the common people but it is also apparent among the senior government officers, elected representatives, ministers and the ruling elites.
“It is especially critical for senior government officers in Sabah to understand the MA63, especially when they have frequent meeting with officials at the federal level.
“Whether by accident or on purpose, the history of the formation of Malaysia has never been taught in schools, universities and research subjects,” said Zainnal during his talk entitled ‘MA63: Our Rights, Our Land, Our Future’ yesterday.
He said that a lot of people do not know how the MA63 is connected with the Cobbold Commission Report, Inter-Governmental Report and Federal Constitution.
He added that most of the senior officials, leaders and ruling elites in Malaya tend to equate MA63 with a mere ‘social contract’.
“They can never understand that the social contract is just a political understanding among political parties in Malaya. The idea of the social contract is to enable the different races in Malaya to work together and build a nation,” said Zainnal.
He explained that MA63 is a written agreement that is so specific that nothing can be lost in the interpretation unless it is interpreted to serve certain interests.
Therefore, he argued that the Federal Government has no choice but to honour the agreement as provided in Article 169.
He said that the MA63 is actually an inter-state agreement and not a Head of State agreement.
This means that the MA63 is an agreement between governments. The Federation of Malaya Agreement, on the other hand, is a Head of State agreement.
“This would also mean that Sabah and Sarawak are equal partners to the federal government and not to the states in the federation of Malaya,” said Zainnal.
In this regard, the MA63 should be construed as a valid international treaty. This, in turn, would debunk the theory that MA63 is actually ‘void ab inito’ or invalid from the start.
“There are many more breaches of the MA63. Anyone who says that the breaches could be identified and rectified within six months would be lying.
“There are many historical documents, references, reports, books and legal statutes that need to be cross-analysed; this does not include the legal cases that occurred before 1963 to the current events,” he said.
On April 9, the Pakatan Harapan’s government bid to restore Sabah and Sarawak’s status as equal partners failed when the proposed amendment failed to obtain a two-thirds majority in the Dewan Rakyat.
Pakatan Harapan had only managed to secure 138 votes. No lawmaker disagreed but 59 had abstained from voting.