No more begging from federal govt – UPP

 

KUCHING: If the Sarawak government did not sign the Malaysia Agreement 1963, Sarawakians would have reaped the benefit of the state’s own natural wealth since 1963 instead of having to beg for money from the Federal Government like beggars, pointed out United People’s Party (UPP).

In a press statement, it said it did not want this to happen again.

“No more.”

UPP detailed the historical background and events leading to the effects of the controversial Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).

Sarawak gained its independence from the United Kingdom and was a sovereign state when it joined the Federation of Malaya, Singapore and North Borneo in the formation of Malaysia in 1963.

“We were the owners of our own oil resources, every last drop of it. We agreed to form Malaysia based on an international agreement called the Malaysia Agreement 1963. The Malaysia Agreement was executed by the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and Federation of Malaya, North Borneo, Sarawak and Singapore.”

There were five parties to the Agreement when it was executed in London on July 9, 1963. The Agreement was registered by the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland on Sept 21, 1970.

It is an international agreement between sovereign states which cannot be amended unless by mutual consent of all the signatories. There is no amendment to this date. The signatories to the Malaysia Agreement remain bound by it.

No law in Malaysia, not even the Constitution, can amend or override the Malaysia Agreement. There are specific safeguards in the Malaysia Agreement for the rights of Sarawak and Sabah.

The Petroleum Development Act 1974 (PDA) is only a Malaysian statute and it cannot alter the rights enshrined in the Malaysia Agreement. The PDA was passed without the consent of the people of Sarawak.

The then-Chief Minister Datuk Abdul Rahman Yaakub (now the late Tun) had no right to give 100 per cent of our oil rights away in perpetuity without the consent of the people of Sarawak, UPP said.

“He was acting beyond his powers and jurisdiction. His action in purporting to sign away Sarawak oil rights was unlawful and we do not recognise his unilateral act.”

UPP said it believes that Petronas would not have taken action in the Federal Court against Sarawak without the approval of the Prime Minister.

“But assuming that we are wrong and Petronas is on a frolic of its own without the knowledge or approval of the Prime Minister, then we call on the Prime Minister to intercede and he has the authority to do so.”

UPP now called upon the Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahtahir Mohammad to abide by and fulfill the Pakatan Harapan manifesto to uphold and restore the rights of the parties to the MA63.

The restoration of such rights is clearly inconsistent with the Petronas suit, which is premised solely on the PDA.

Since the Malaysia Agreement is an international agreement signed and registered in London, the law of the contract is the law in the United Kingdom.

UPP is of the view that it is open to the government of Sarawak, a signatory to the Malaysia Agreement, to file a suit in London to seek relevant declaratory relief on the interpretation of the Malaysia Agreement in respect of Sarawak rights arising under the Malaysia Agreement.

“We urge the Sarawak government to consider taking such a step instead of just defending the Petronas suit.

“We also call on the Prime Minister to direct Petronas to stay further proceedings on the suit by Petronas in order for the rights of the parties to the Malaysia Agreement to be decided first.”

The Malaysia Agreement supersedes the PDA and the Constitution. Without the Malaysia Agreement, there would be no Malaysia and therefore, no Constitution and no PDA, UPP said.

“Asking a Malaysian Court to interpret the PDA without first recognising the supremacy of the Malaysia Agreement is like looking at a leaf on a tree without recognising that, without the root, there would be no tree and no leaf. The leaf (like the PDA) is insignificant. The root gives life to the tree just like the Malaysia Agreement gave life to Malaysia.”

“Without the Malaysia Agreement, there is no Federation of Malaysia. It is as simple as that. Those who would disregard the Malaysia Agreement is, in fact, subverting the formation of Malaysia in the first place.”

Sarawak is entitled to all its rights under the Malaysia Agreement. In this regard, it is to be the master of its own resources.

“For too many decades, Sarawak wealth has been taken by the states of Malaya for their own benefit and we get a pittance in return. The Federation of Malaya has benefited hugely from Sarawak’s resources at the expense of Sarawakians. This must stop now because the people of Sarawak have woken up,” said UPP referring to the result of the May 9 general election where Pakatan Harapan coalition took over the federal government at the expense of the 60-year-old Barisan Nasional.

“We want the restoration of our rights and we will fight with every resources we have to regain those rights. We not only want our rights restored but we also want compensation for all the wealth taken from our state for the benefit of the federation of Malaya.”

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