KUCHING: A coalition of NGOs, politicians and activists from Sarawak and Sabah have drawn up a petition recently, addressing it to the United Nations (UN) secretary-general to re-open the issue of self-determination for the two East Malaysian states.
The petition, touted to have been signed by some 100 representatives at a leading hotel in Miri last Saturday, was also copied to the UN Special Committee of 24 (C-24) and the UN Human Rights Committee. It aimed to gather several hundred thousand signatures in both states before making its way to the UN secretary-general.
A copy of the petition sent to The Borneo Post on Monday pointed out that the people of Sarawak, Sabah (then known as North Borneo) and Brunei as former British colonial subjects, first appealed to the UN by the Memorandum dated Sept 9, 1962.
Signed by Sarawak United Peoples’ Party, United National Pasok Mamogun Party and Parti Rakyat Brunei, the request however remained unaddressed by the UN owing to the intervention of historic events which recast the political course of Sarawak, Sabah and Brunei for the last 51 years.
“Whereas Brunei attained independence on 1st January 1984, Sarawak and Sabah have remained under ‘change of status’ stature without national independence up to today; documented as such in the United Nations Trusteeship Agreement listed by the General Assembly as Non-Self-Governing Territories,” the petition stated.
UK-based Borneo’s Plight in Malaysia (BoPIM) president Daniel John Jambun who sent the copy was reported in the media yesterday as saying that Sabah and Sarawak were dragged into the Malayan Federation on Sept 16, 1963 by the British and Malayan governments to facilitate the merger of Singapore with Malaya.
The Malayan Federation then changed its name to Malaysian Federation.
“It’s obvious from Article 160 of the Federal Constitution that Malaysia was not formed as was earlier promoted by the British and Malayan governments,” explained Daniel on why he signed the petition.
The petition, in calling for a review on self-determination, sought assistance from the UN to review “the arbitrary and indecorous surrender of our sovereignty by the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland under Command of Her Majesty The Queen of England, to the Federation of Malaysia on 16th September, 1963”.
It noted that this indecorous surrender of sovereignty was sanctioned by the UN “without exercise of the right to self-determination in contravention of the spirit and letter of the United Nations and Decolonisation Declaration adopted by the General Assembly Resolution 1514 (XV) of the 14th December 1960”.
The organisers behind this petition and signature campaign, in its pursuit to follow up on the memorandum dated Sept 9, 1962, requested at the earliest opportunity given to make representations before the UN to seek Sabah and Sarawak inherent right to self-determination as enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations.
“The right of self-determination of peoples is a fundamental principle in international law and this legal doctrine is also embodied in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights,” the Petition said.
It is understood that the event, under the People’s Initiative of Sarawak and Sabah, is collaboration between Sarawak Association for Peoples’ Aspiration (SAPA) and Borneo Heritage Foundation (BHF) among others.