MA63 is an International Treaty and Trust Deed lodged with the UN Secretary General.
Malaysia in Borneo was an unfinished chapter on the history of the British Empire in Borneo and Malaya.
The UK Government must not lose sight of the fact that it was one of the five signatories on MA63, the others being North Borneo, Sarawak, Singapore and Malaya. We tried to get Her Majesty the Queen to hold a UK Government Inquiry on the nature and circumstances under which the British withdrew from North Borneo and Sarawak in 1963.
Our efforts failed when the Foreign Secretary, on behalf of the Queen, stressed that Malaysia was now an independent country and that the people in Sabah and Sarawak must deal with the government in Putrajaya. The only positive point in his letter was the disclosure that the British Government was watching developments on the “Allah” issue in Malaysia, freedom of religion issues in the Borneo states and the RCI on the illegal immigrants.
In a contradiction in terms, the UK Government subsequently held an Inquiry on Hong Kong. They had no qualms about holding a public inquiry on whether the Chinese Government had lived up to the promises it made to the people of Hong Kong in 1997 when the British withdrew.
If Hong Kong is a precedent, the UK Government must hold a similar Inquiry on MA63 in London. An Inquiry of this nature would establish whether the Malayan Government, now the Malaysian Government, and the UK Government lived up to their obligations, responsibilities and duties to the people in the two Borneo states.
MA63 speaks of mechanisms to translate the undertakings, assurances and guarantees from the 1963 Arrangement into practical, meaningful and lasting action. No such mechanisms were set up to implement and monitor MA63.
Instead, Singapore either quit and/or was bundled out of the Federation in 1965. It was Singapore which merged with Malaya for Federation, a process facilitated by Sabah and Sarawak.
Singapore’s exit from the Federation should have reversed the process on the 1963 Arrangement.
Instead, the Federal Constitution was amended in 1976 and Sabah and Sarawak were incorporated as the 12th and 13th states in the Malayan Federation set up by the Federation of Malaya Agreement 1948 and reinforced by the Federation of Malaya Independence Act 1957.
A glance at the Definition of “Federation” in Article 160 of the Federal Constitution and Article 1 tells the whole story.
The present status of Sabah and Sarawak vis-à-vis Malaya was not what the Founding Fathers in Borneo and the people of Sabah and Sarawak bargained for. We never had any intention to join the Malayan Federation.
Our Intention was an Equal Federation of North Borneo, Sarawak and Malaya, with Singapore a merged entity.
Daniel John Jambun
Borneo’s Plight in Malaysia Foundation (Bopim), United Kingdom