Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) pledged to bring the Federal Government and the British Government to Court for dishonouring the Malaysia Agreement once getting the mandate from the people.

President Datuk Seri Panglima Yong Teck Lee said that among others, the clear breach of agreement was on the Borneonisation of the federal public service in Sabah in pursuant to the Malaysia Agreement that was signed in London on July 9, 1963.

He said SAPP’s legal team had studied the matter for quite a long time and after researching the speeches of leaders from all parties and relevant documents, especially the agreement’s contents itself, they opined that the Malaysia Agreement was enforceable in the court of law.

“The promise of Borneonisation of the public service is very well documented in the many memoranda submitted by the leaders of North Borneo and Sarawak, in the Memorandum of the Malaysia Solidarity Consultative Committee, the Cobbold Report, and the Inter-Governmental Report.

“Finally, it became a legally binding enforceable right of Sabah and Sarawak in the Malaysia Agreement,” he said when opening the annual general meeting for branches in SAPP Petagas CLC at its chief, Dullie Mari’s residence in Kampung Muhibbah here on Friday.

“Many Malaysians do not realise that Malaysia itself is a creation of the Malaysia Agreement signed in London on July 9, 1963. The parties to this international treaty were the United Kingdom, Federation of Malaya, Singapore, Sarawak and North Borneo (now Sabah),” he said.

He said that the Agreement contained 10 articles, which are clear and easy to understand.

On the other hand, everybody knew that those promises stipulated in the Agreement had been broken by both the Malayan and British governments.

“Until now, 47 years later, all we have been hearing are empty promises. It is no wonder that even the Federal Minister of Information found it so casual to “re-assure” Sabah on the Borneonisation of the public service during the last Malaysia Day,” he said.

On this note, he said SAPP was not talking about the Armed Forces and security personnel, medical, scientific other high-tech services that Sabah needs, but tens of thousands of officers and clerical staff in many federal departments and agencies in Sabah.

“It is as though there are no capable Sabahans,” he said, adding that an example of this was the posting of 76 computer technicians to Sabah schools in April, which was objected by the teachers’ unions in the state.

“The education minister does not even bother to explain. It is now learnt that more than 400 computer technicians are being posted to various schools in Sabah with costs of living and transport allowances, taking up the teachers’ quarters and depriving local staff. Is this job too difficult for Sabahans?” he asked.

Yong claimed that previous employment and promotions of locals had been reversed with a stroke of the pen and that even recently at the mini Putrajaya (Sabah Federal Administrative Complex) even clerks and drivers were sent from the Peninsula Malaysia.

“We want to make it clear that Malaysians in Sabah, known as Sabahans, have nothing against our fellows Malaysians from the Peninsular. We share their predicament caused by the failures of the BN-Umno government in the country.

“But, we worry also about the job opportunities of young Sabahans, increasing in numbers of whom face a bleak future. If even computer technicians are posted from the Peninsular what hope do the locals have?” he asked.

Yong said that as true Malaysians, the people of Sabah sincerely believed that the Federal Government must honour the letter and spirit of the 1963 Malaysia Agreement, including the promise of Borneonisation of the public service.

The Inter-Governmental Report of 27 February, 1963 had referred to the famous Cobbold Report dated 21 June, 1962, which in Chapter 4, Para 148 (i) of the recommendations of the Cobbold Commission clearly stated that the Borneonisation of the public services should proceed as quickly as possible, he said.

He said Article VIII of the Agreement stipulated that “the Governments of Malaya, North Borneo and Sarawak will take such legislative, executive or other action as may be required to implement the assurances, undertakings and recommendations in Chapter 3 of, and Annexes A and B to, the Report of the Inter-Governmental Committee signed on 27 February 1963, is so far as they are not implemented by express provision of the Constitution of Malaysia”.

Yong said Lord Cobbold had recommended that “the Federal Services in the Borneo territories should be regionalised and officers should be appointed in the territories with sufficient authority to deal with local matters. I add a personal recommendation that, when expatriate officers are no longer needed for these posts, they should normally be filled by officers from the Borneo territories”.

“But where are all these promises?” he asked. Based on all these documents and evidence, it is clear that the people of Sabah can sue those involved in the Malaysia Agreement based on this legal binding commitment, he said.

Nonetheless, Yong said legally the only party that can represent the people of Sabah in the litigation is the State Government, while others even SAPP in its present state now doesn’t have enough locus standi to do so because they are not the State Government.

“So, I would like to state here that once SAPP form the new State Government after the 13th General Election, we will issue a six-month notice to the Federal Government to implement Borneonisation as agreed upon in the Malaysia Agreement 47 years ago,” he said.

Yong said that if after six months the Federal Government failed to make any substantial change, then the SAPP State Government would seek legal recourse.
“What is there to discuss? It is not like the Agreement was only signed today but it has already been for 47 years, so what else is there to negotiate,” he said to thunderous applause from the delegates.

To internationalise the matter, he said SAPP would go to London where the treaty was signed and sealed and take similar action against the British Government.

“They (British government) have to be responsible for what they have done,” he said.
In fact, the transfer of sovereignty of Sabah from the United Kngdom to Kuala Lumpur in Article IV of the Malaysia Agreement included thecondition that such transfer of sovereignty is in accordance with the Malaysia Agreement and the constitutional instruments that form part of the Agreement, he said.

Yong told the delegates here that the local leaders in the State cabinet who most of them are lawyers knew about this.

“But, they will not dare to voice it out because they are worried of losing their positions, projects and so on … they are answerable to Kuala Lumpur but for SAPP, no. We want an autonomous State Government that answers to no one but the people of Sabah,” he said.

The former Chief Minister pointed to the foresight of Lord Cobbold who in his words in the report said:

“It is a necessary condition that, from the outset, Malaysia should be regarded by all concerned as an association of partners, combining in the common interest to create a new nation but retaining their own individualities. If any idea were to take root that Malaysia would involve a “take-over” of the Borneo territories by the Federation of Malaya and the submersion of individualities of North Borneo and Sarawak, Malaysia would not, in my judgement, be generally acceptable or successful.”

Also on hand were deputy president Datuk Liew Teck Chan, former Finance Minister Datuk Mohd Noor Mansoor, vice president Amde Sidek, Wanita chief Melanie Chia, Youth chief Edward Dagul, Information chief Chong Pit Fah and supreme council members as well as the candidates for the upcoming SAPP party election.


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