It looks like until MA63 is made part of the Constitution, the debate now raging is not likely to die down.
Sarawak has made its stand clear. It wants the Constitution to be unambiguous on two basic issues, one, a new definition of the word ‘Federation’ and the insertion of ‘pursuant to Malaysia Agreement 1963’.
To Sarawak it is only if these issues are addressed that it is no longer one of 13 states but one of three existing founding members of Malaysia.
Proponents of the failed amendment have been saying it was just the “first step” to returning all those rights, including giving back billions owed to Sarawak and Sabah. And because it was only the “first step” GPS MPs should not have rejected it. By rejecting it the GPS MPs have betrayed and denied Sarawakians of the billions with which Putrajaya was supposedly ready to make Sarawakians rich.
First step? So how many steps more do we have to go through to get what we want? Or rather, how many steps more for us to get the Constitution right? And, on whose guarantee?
To GPS, if we start wrong, to right the wrong is not going to be easy. And the amendment failed because it was badly wrong. It did not correct the wrong committed in 1963 when Malaysian was formed.
Malaysia had started on a wrong footing in 1963 by not making MA63 the basis of the Federal Constitution. It is this very mistake that GPS wants to put right. And it is this very mistake that is so very hard to correct now simply because Malaysia had started wrong.
Right now, we know the position the federal government is taking with regard to Sarawak’s demand. It is unwilling to accede and gave no clear reasons why.
What is clear is the de facto Law Minister VK Liew did not know exactly why MA63 cannot be made an essential part of the Constitution. He did not object but was “advised” against the insertion of ‘pursuant to MA63’.
And Liew took the advice without bothering to convey this to Sarawakians or the GPS MPs. Liew took the advice and tried to push the amendment down our throats because he believed in the advice.
Apparently, Putrajaya thinks ‘pursuant to MA63’ will bring about “complications”. Liew believed there would be “complications”.
If Liew knew he didn’t say, but he certainly was afraid of these “complications” much like little children are afraid of the dark but not actually knowing what they are afraid of.
Of course, we would like to know what these “complications” could be but we could not get it from the de factor Law Minister because he was so afraid, he did not bother to find out for us what these “complications” were.
Could one of three signatories of Malaysia (instead one of 13 states) one of those complications?
Or could it be MA63 is indeed an illegal document as propounded by some quarters who maintain that only sovereign nations could enter into international documents such as this, whereas North Borneo and Sarawak were colonies at that time?
Malaysia is entering dangerous grounds, if the Federation hopes to remain intact, Putrajaya must not be afraid to share equally the political and socio-economic wealth of the three nations that make Malaysia – Malaya, Sarawak and Sabah.
The only way this can be done is to give ‘Federation’ its true meaning in the context of Malaysia, and equal partnership to Sarawak and Sabah.
There has to be perfectly legal grounds as to why UK and the United Nations had agreed to get Sarawak and Sabah to be parties to MA63. They surely knew the positions of these two signatories to MA63 as to qualify them to sign the said document.
If on the day of the signing of MA63, UK and UN decided Sarawak and Sabah were indeed sovereign nations, therefore qualified signatories, so be it. Then we were, and are, indeed sovereign nations after all, which is the more reason why we should be recognised as equal partners in Malaysia.
VK Liew better tell his Malayan bosses GPS doesn’t see those “complications” beyond Putrajaya’s willingness – or unwillingness rather – to give what Sarawak deserves as equal partner.
GPS still believes in the political expediency and practicality of Malaysia; it is up to Putrajaya to assert this.