Saturday, March 23

Successful mission


Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali

Research team finds documents on reasons, objectives for determination of Sarawak’s land, sea, and Continental Shelf limits

KUCHING: The research mission team to London has obtained documents on the Continental Shelf that confirm the ownership rights of the States to the natural resources in the seabeds and subsoils in the Continental Shelf within the boundaries of the State as defined in the said Order in Council.

Assistant Minister of Law, State-Federal Relations and Project Monitoring Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali, who led the team to London in a week-long research trip, said this was one of the findings of their research and study of documents which migrated from Sarawak before Malaysia Day and were classified by the Colonial Administration as ‘secret’ or ‘confidential’.

“These documents formed which are termed the ‘Migrated Archives’ have been ‘declassified’ by United Kingdom Government and stored in the British National Archives. These documents are no longer in the custody of the State Government after Malaysia Day,” she said in a press statement yesterday.

Sharifah Hasidah said the research team also found documents on the reasons and objectives of the making of the Sarawak (Alteration of Boundaries) Order 1954 by the Queen in Council, for the determination of the boundaries of Sarawak’s land, sea, and continental shelf limits prior to Malaysia Day.

Additionally, she said they have also obtained British Government Cabinet Papers relating to the Cobbold Commission’s report and its views on the granting Sarawak Independence through the formation of the new Federation of Malaysia, besides documents on the formation of Malaysia, including the minutes of meetings of the Inter-governmental Committee (IGC) leading to the publication of the IGC Report.

“Copies of these documents have been obtained by the Team from the British National Archives and from the Commonwealth Library and Archive at Marlborough House in London. The Government is studying these documents to ascertain the basis for the recommendations contained in the IGC Report of the constitutional safeguards for Sarawak and what further action need to be taken in order to have them fully implemented under Article VIII of the Malaysia Agreement if they had not been already incorporated in the Federal Constitution or by executive, legislative or other action since Malaysia Day.”

Sharifah Hasidah said the documents found by the Team will add strength to State’s position in the discussions with Federal Government on Devolution of Power (DOP), and towards resolution of various constitutional matters under deliberation in these discussions.

On the Devolution of Power, she said  there was a meeting on July 25 July, 2017, of the Steering Committee co-chaired by the Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman (from Sabah) and the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri, to deliberate on the Report by the Technical  Committee on DOP, headed by the federal Attorney-General.

“The State Government was represented at this meeting by a team led by the State Attorney General. This process of resolving the constitutional as well as financial issues is therefore, an ongoing exercise. The Mission to London serves to strengthen the State’s case in this important phase of the discussion on Devolution of Powers with the Federal Authorities.”

Sharifah Hasidah said the State Government would try to obtain from the British National Archives, documents in the previously classified files which were moved from Sarawak to custody of the United Kingdom Government’s control, before Malaysia Day so that the State can also have possession of these important documents, particularly those in relation to the grant of oil mining concessions, revenue and financial matters, control of shipping and marine fisheries in Sarawak waters, administration of education, labour and public health.

“These documents, generated during the Colonial Administration will provide a better understanding on how these subject-matters were handled by before Independence.”

Earlier opening the International Conference on Language Studies (ICLS 2017) at Riverside Majestic Hotel here yesterday morning Chief Minister Datuk Amar Johari Tun Openg said the development of the fact-finding mission on Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63)all seemed to be good.

“It (the mission) is important because we don’t want to shoot blindly… (gather more facts) including the access to communication between UK government and the United Nations which we have not checked,” he said.

“There are many historical facts that we do not know yet and these details have not been revealed before,” he added.