BY NAVIN C NAIDU

I refer to the Malaysia Day message by Baru Bian, Ba’Kelalan assemblyman and Selangau MP.

His message is inundated with WHAT the problem is. Nobody needs constant reminders and primers of the massive misinformation perpetrated upon Sabah and Sarawak. We need the HOW to get Sabah and Sarawak on the right path to economic and political recovery.

Baru Bian reminds us of his former law professor’s recent observations in a Malaysian tabloid. That law professor again, in true fashion, talked about WHAT the problems are without so much as offering solutions and remedies.

Curiously, he asserts that the ‘Final Report on MA63’ was placed under the Official Secrets Act 1972. Did he know, and more importantly, did Sarawakians know after being told so by Baru Bian himself? I don’t remember this being reported in the media. I don’t remember if he did anything about this issue when he was a federal minister under Pakatan Harapan.

If his assertion is accurate, it would appear that some party wants this under wraps with the usual threat of punitive measures that can be meted out to anyone violating the Official Secrets Act 1972. But, the obvious question is: WHY the big secret? MA63 was never intended to be a secretive covenant, contract, pact or trust. Who benefits if this is intended to be a big secret?

The politician also speaks of the threat to Christians in Sarawak by Putrajaya’s refusal to acknowledge the right of freedom of religion. As a lawyer, he must be aware of the seminal decision in Che Omar bin Che So v. Public Prosecutor [1988] 2 MLJ 55 wherein the court declared that Malaysia is not an Islamic State but a secular one.

Thank Almighty God, this case has not been overruled to misinterpret Article 3 of the FC.

MA63 is an international covenant between Malaya, Singapore, Sabah, Sarawak and the United Kingdom. It is not a contract with the other 11 states in Malaya.

Singapore exited. Sabah and Sarawak never got an opportunity to renegotiate the pact with one equal partner no longer in the equation. The United Nations has a record of the MA63 as an international law agreement.

Sabah and Sarawak desperately need solutions under the doctrine of jus cogens — the principles which form the norms of international law that cannot be set aside.

MA63 is governed by the tenets and strictures of jus cogens. Aggressive war, invasion and occupation may change the dynamics, but until then, MA63’s provisions cannot be set aside.

First, a referendum needs to be held in Sabah and Sarawak to gauge the wishes and expectations of the people. Hands from the grave should not determine the destinies of the Internet-accessible people of Sabah and Sarawak who are way beyond the 1963 mindset.

Second, a local, regional and international tribunal must be empaneled to study the
20-Points (Sabah) and the 18-Points (Sarawak) emerging from the various Reports that gave birth to MA63.

Third, Sabah and Sarawak, as equal partners and signatories of the international document, need to petition the United Nations to sit in as an arbitrator while the four remaining partners sort out the issues that thwart their sovereignty.

Putrajaya should invite the United Nations if it is sincere about resolving MA63’s provisions in favour of Sabah and Sarawak.

Fourth, every nook and corner of Sabah and Sarawak must be reached with knowledgeable people speaking about the innards of MA63 in as many languages and dialects as required.

Fifth, the Sabah and Sarawak governments must introduce a new school subject called ‘Study of MA63’ in the school curriculum in every language. The young, as our future leaders, need to know what’s at stake if they allow others to make them sleep at the wheel.

Sixth, Article 1(2) Federal Constitution must be amended, otherwise a court of law and equity ought to declare Article 1(2) as unconstitutional until such time as constitutional amendment becomes effective.

Seventh, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong ought to be consulted to intercede and request the Federal Court under Article 182(7) to revisit Article 1(2).

Eighth, Native Courts need to come alert, agile and alive taking on the MA63 issue to prove and declare the “57-year-old issue”. After all, the federal Attorney General is constitutionally prohibited from discontinuing any proceedings of a Native Court under Article 145(3) FC.

These solutions can be tested in Sarawak’s DUN.

The views expressed here are those of the columnist and do not necessarily represent the views of New Sarawak Tribune.