LETTER TO QUEEN ELIZABETH II
14 February 2016
Her Majesty the Queen
London SW1A 1AA
THE “UNFINISHED BUSINESS OF DECOLONIZATION” OF SARAWAK AND SABAH
(NORTH BORNEO) UNDER UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY RESOLUTIONS (GAR):
GAR 1514 (1960), GAR 1541 (1960) AND GAR 217A (1948)
1. May we humbly refer to the above-mentioned ‘Unfinished Business of Decolonization’ and seek Your Majesty’s kindest consideration to redress the plight of the peoples in the former British Borneo colonies from the subjugation, domination and exploitation over the territories of Sarawak and Sabah since the formation of the Federation of Malaysia on 16 September 1963.
2. It is within our desired interest to respectfully and peacefully pursue our Sarawak and Sabah peoples’ inalienable right to self-determination in accordance with the Principle of Self-Determination under UN GAR: 1514 (1960), 1541 (1960) and 217A (1948).
3. The Malaysia Agreement signed in London on 9 July 1963 – hereinafter called “MA63” - to federate four Southeast Asia territories, all formerly British colonies at one time or another - justifies our communication directly with Your Majesty’s Government; and UK being the principal signatory thereto, it warrants that effective participation by the Executive, Judiciary and Legislature of Your Majesty’s Government be considered fit to redress the legitimate grievances experienced by the peoples of Sarawak and Sabah as a consequence.
4. MA63, the Agreement concluded between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the Federation of Malaya, North Borneo (now known as Sabah) Sarawak and Singapore, presented to Parliament by the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations and Secretary of State for the Colonies by Command of Her Majesty, being an International Treaty, was duly registered with the United Nations on 2 September 1970 – Treaty Series No. 10760.
As an International Treaty, MA63 is not merely the domestic affair of Malaysia but of international concern and human rights interests that may affect the integrity, trustworthiness, reliability and credibility of the parties concerned therein.
5. The “Decolonization” of Sarawak and Sabah that was applied and enforced vide MA63 has posed legitimate concerns as follows:
a) The validity of MA63 is called into question by the fact that at the material time the territories of Sabah and Sarawak were still colonies of Your Majesty’s Government and “possess no sovereignty”; as colonies which are non-international persons do not have the legal capacity to enter into an international treaty amongst sovereign nations, thus conjecturably rendering MA63 “void ab initio”.
b) The departure of Singapore on 9 August 1965 would have abrogated MA63, to require all signatory nations concerned to once again go back to the negotiating table to reframe the original international treaty in line with the departure of one co-signatory partner nation. On the contrary, United Kingdom carried on to register the International Treaty with United Nations in 1970, five years after Singapore had left the Federation!
c) On 27 August 1976, the Malaysian government unilaterally amended the Malaysia Constitution vide Constitutional Amendment Act 354 to regroup the Federation of Malaysia into 13 states as opposed to the original three territories of Federation of Malaya, Sarawak and Sabah as per MA63. This has reduced the political status of Sarawak and Sabah from being two of three equal component territories to two of thirteen components of the Federation. This is a clear breach of MA63.
d) The Federation of Malaya in its direct and deliberate actions in affecting the outcome of the Sarawak and Sabah people's right to self-determination was from the onset, in breach of the terms of UN GAR 1541 (1960) itself; and this was a gross violation of UNR 1514 (1960) Principles for Self-determination (later reinforced by UN GAR 2625 (1970) which prohibits foreign intervention in the independence and internal affairs of other countries.
6. On 31 July 1963, the Parliament of the United Kingdom passed an Act called the Malaysia Act 1963 Chapter 35, inter alia; to make provision for and in connection with the union of North Borneo, Sarawak and Singapore with the existing States of the Federation of Malaya.
7. Pursuant to Clause 1. - (1) Your Majesty’s sovereignty and jurisdiction in respect of the new States (North Borneo [Sabah] , Sarawak and Singapore) was relinquished so as to vest in the manner agreed between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the Federation and the new States in accordance with Article III therein;
That: “The Government of the United Kingdom will submit to Her Britannic Majesty before Malaysia Day Orders in Council for the purpose of giving the force of law to the Constitutions of Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore as States of Malaysia which set out in Annexes B, C and D to this Agreement.”
8. Similarly in accordance with Article II of MA63, which reads;
“The Government of the Federation of Malaya will take such steps as may be appropriate and available to them to secure the enactment by the Parliament of the Federation of Malaya of an Act in the form set out in ‘Annex A’ to this Agreement and that it is brought into operation on 31st August 1963 (and the date on which the said Act is brought into operation is hereinafter referred to as “Malaysia Day”).
9. Based on Article II of MA63 as aforesaid, it is a prerequisite condition for the Parliament of Malaya then to secure an enactment of an Act in the form set out in Annex “A” ; the Malaysia Bill, giving legal effect and the force of law to a new Constitution of a new Federation called Malaysia. This Article was haphazardly done merely by resolution and ratification; and without any enactment of an Act on the Malaysia Bill (Annex “A”) by the Parliament of the Federation of Malaya in total disregard of the expressed requirement under the aforesaid Article.
10. The matter was further compounded by the fact that on Proclamation Day of 16 September 1963, the Permanent Representative of the Federation of Malaya to United Nations, Ong Yoke Lin, notified the Secretary General of the United Nations that the name of the “Federation of Malaya” had been changed to “Malaysia” and this change of name had been accompanied by the addition of Singapore, Sabah (North Borneo) and Sarawak to the Federation of Malaya. In essence, no new State or Nation was created, contrary to the spirit and letter of MA63.
The Permanent Representative of the Federation of Malaya subsequently declared that there was no necessity for a fresh application to UN for membership. The Legal Opinion of the Secretariat of United Nations concurred that a change to name or the acquisition of new territories of an existing member nation does not affect the international personality or its legal identity.
11. The possibility arises, that if Malaysia is not recognised as a new nation by United Nations, Sarawak and Sabah can then be said to be fraudulently incorporated into the Federation of Malaya renamed Malaysia, and by misrepresentation to UN, removed from the UN decolonization list before attaining nationhood status.
12. Since 16 September 1963, the Constitution of the Federation of Malaya 1957 has been imposed as the Constitution of Malaysia by the fact that Sarawak and Sabah only signed the MA63; and were never attached to Malaya historically nor ever politically; being separated by a thousand miles of South China Sea waters; discounting the common factor of all three territories being British Crown colonies at one time or another.
13. The vague promise of "independence in Malaysia" did not even bring with it "self-rule” or autonomy for Sabah or Sarawak as the Federal government took away many State powers entitled under MA63. Many matters are directly controlled and determined by the Federal Government, such as education and broadcasting, which ought to have been State rights.
14. In the course of the 53-year history of the renamed Federation of Malaysia, the Federal government in Malaya through political manipulation, exploitation and subjugation pillaged Sarawak and Sabah resources such as oil and gas, timber, licensing, taxes etc; to such an extent that Sarawak and Sabah have, from the richest states with zero national debt before Malaysia was formed, to become the poorest territories according to a World Bank recent economic report, with the huge burden of National Debt which has accumulated to the tune of $607 billion, and counting.
15. To neutralize the majority-Christian population of Sabah, illegal immigrants of Muslim faith are allowed in freely and within a short period of time are given identity cards to enable them to vote to maintain the political party in power. Within a space of less than 30 years, this ‘population explosion’ had caused “new” non-native immigrants to exceed the native population; in the process changing Sabah from a Christian-majority state to a Muslim-majority state. This is in breach of international legal conventions against deliberate and systematic re-structuring of a country’s demographics to maintain perpetual political domination by race and religion.
16. Religious freedom in Sabah as enshrined under the Sabah Constitution (Annex B of the MA63) which originally specified that there would be no State religion, has been arbitrarily curtailed, to declare Islam as the state religion.
17. Consequently, this has become a very disturbing situation to say the least, for native Sabahans as no one seems to heed their plight and sufferings in the loss of their economic wealth, their religious freedom, their cultures and languages; amidst constant fear of corruption and extremism resulting in anxiety and uncertainty of their children’s future in a failed nation that engineered the displacement of the indigenous peoples from the land of their forefathers by illegal immigrants to dominate the natives in the reverse take-over of their beloved homeland.
18. Your Majesty, in the formation of Malaysia, your government may have taken all necessary precautions and duty of care in anticipation of any deviation in the implementation and enforcement of the terms and conditions of MA63.
19. However, the Malaysia federal government’s 53-years’ failure to comply with MA63 by its omissions, neglect and committal of serious breaches, subjugation and exploitation of Sarawak and Sabah, compounded by wanton disregard for human rights and democracy, constitute a repudiation of MA63 which warrants Your Majesty’s urgent intervention, for a British Parliamentary Enquiry to be established to enable a new arrangement for the three States of the Federation of Malaya, Sarawak and Sabah.
20. It is within these contexts that the peoples of Sabah and Sarawak hold our highest expectations to rely upon the Prerogative Authority of Your Majesty and the continued obligation of your Majesty’s Government of Great Britain as the architect and principal signatory to the MA63; to restore the fundamental issues of sovereignty and jurisdiction to the peoples of Sabah and Sarawak in accordance with their freely expressed will and desire; without any distinction as to race, creed or colour, in order to enable them to enjoy meaningful self-determination and freedom.
Your Majesty, we sincerely believe that Your Majesty’s trusteeship obligations - historical as it may seem to some but which we deem a living trust - will salvage the pride and honour of the peoples of Sarawak and Sabah, to meet our hopes and aspirations by full closure and completion of the Unfinished Business of Decolonization.
Your Majesty, we the peoples of Sarawak and Sabah are much obliged, in eager anticipation of your reply.
encs: 1. Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63)
2. The Intergovernmental Report (IGC)
3. Legal Opinion of the Secretariat of the United Nations
4. Amendment Act 354 and Part 1 of Malaysia Federal Constitution
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