PANDIKAR Amin Mulia’s insistence that Sabah and Sarawak are equal in stature with the states of West Malaysia and his dismissal of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 as unimportant are riling up the leadership of the two states.
The Dewan Rakyat Speaker’s challenge to Sarawak Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg to a debate has also further irked the leaders of the state.
In his book “Berpisah Tiada” Pandikar said Sabah and Sarawak were not sovereign states when they agreed to jointly form Malaysia with the federated states of Malaya, hence the two East Malaysian states are on equal to the other Malayan states.
He cited Article 1 of the Malaysia Agreement 1963, which identified Sabah (then North Borneo) and Sarawak as former colonies of the British who were signatories to MA63, and Chapter 2 (10), which stated “that both former colonies shall be federated along with the federated states of Malaya.
Pandikar had expressed such a view at a forum on MA63 in Kota Kinabalu on November 12.
Sarawak Barisan Nasional Backbenchers Club chairman Paulus Palu Gumbang said the Speaker was emotional and arrogant.
“His challenge to the chief minister to debate on the matter is not the right thing to do.”
He said the Speaker had responded emotionally to pressure from the media for his comment, and that he had clearly failed to understand the sentiments and aspirations of the people of Sabah and Sarawak.
Paulus said the people disagreed wth the Speaker’s statement and some were expressing their anger on social media.
“Let Sabahans themselves judge him as a political leader.”
Paulus said MA63 was not open to revision and the terms were to be amended only with the consent of the signatories.
“This is because it is an international agreement, not a bill passed by Parliament. Parliament cannot amend international rulings.
“In other words, Sabah, Sarawak, the federal government and the United Kingdom must consent to any amendment of the terms contained in the agreement.”
Singapore is also an MA63 signatory
Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) said Sarawak and Sabah were among the five signatories to the MA63.
“Individual states in Malaya were never signatory to the formation of Malaysia. They did not sign the MA63 at all. Only Malaya did,” said SUPP secretary-general Sebastian Ting.
“The late chief minister Adenan Satem had always reminded us that there would not be a Malaysia today without Sarawak.”
As for Pandikar’s denial of the MA63 as an important document, he said, “No person can deny the validity and legality of the MA63, the Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) Report 1962, Cobbold Commission and the Malaysia Act (Chapter 35).
“Our chief minister has on numerous occasions stressed the importance of the MA63; indeed, he sent a legal team to the United Kingdom to thoroughly research all relevant papers, documents, and recorded minutes of the countless discussions on the formation of Malaysia,” said Ting, who is the Piasau assemblyman.
In Sabah, Upko Putatan MP Marcus Mojigoh urged Sabah and Sarawak leaders to respect and honour the MA63.
“I stand to agree with what Sarawak leaders have to say (about MA63),” he was quoted saying in the Borneo Post.
Marcus said he did not agree with Pandikar’s “personal opinion” of MA63, which, in any case, was of little consequence.
“To me that is just his personal view,” said Marcus.
Parti Anak Negeri member Dr Edwin Bosi said there was no point arguing with a leader whose career was on the decline.
“He is water under the bridge. That is what I think of him,” he said.
PKR Sabah chairman Christina Liew meanwhile said Pandikar’s recent antics were cheap publicity stunts.
“Pandikar should stand neutral as the parliamentary Speaker. His moves are political.They should not be,” she said.
Parti Warisan Sabah deputy president Darell Leiking said Pandikar should be impartial as he had resigned as the Umno division head the day he became the Dewan Rakyat Speaker.
Darell said Pandikar had provoked Sabahans and Sarawakians with his comments and questioned Barisan Nasional leaders’ lack of response to Pandikar’s actions.
Zainnal is the author of The Queen’s Obligation.