Don proposes new 10-point agreement for Sabah, Sarawak

0

Prof James Chin

KUCHING (Nov 30): A Sarawak-born academician has come up with a new 10-point agreement to replace the existing 20-point agreement for Sarawak, and 18-point agreement for Sabah.

James Chin, a professor of Asian Studies at University of Tasmania, Australia said his proposed 10-point agreement reaffirms what the nation’s forefathers had wanted for Sabah and Sarawak, and also what the two Borneo states want from the federal government.

“As 2023 is the 60th anniversary of the formation of Malaysia, hence now is a very unique opportunity to look back at what Malaysians had experienced.

“Rather than looking back, we need to look forward. If we all look back, our country cannot progress,” he told The Borneo Post.

He stressed that he drafted the proposed 10-point in his personal capacity and not on behalf of any organisation.

“I have captured as much as possible what are the wishes of the people of Sabah and Sarawak as we move forward.

“I think it is very important to stress that we want to retain our unique cultures, traditions, languages and more importantly, to maintain our diverse population,” he said.

Chin’s 10-point agreement calls for the dream and promise of the Federation of Malaysia for the people of Sabah and Sarawak to be fulfilled without delay; reaffirm Sabah and Sarawak as equal partners with Malaya in the formation of the Federation of Malaysia; and reaffirm the unique status of the Borneo states under Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution, distinct from the 11 states in Peninsular Malaysia, as enshrined in the Malaysia Agreement of 1963.

It also seeks to reaffirm that Sabah and Sarawak each possess exclusive territorial rights over the resources that are within their own territorial boundaries; reaffirm that every community in Sabah and Sarawak has the right to their distinct unique cultures and ceremonial expression, identity and language; reaffirm that Sabah and Sarawak as secular states, multi-religious society as promised by our forefathers; and reaffirm that all Sabahans and Sarawakians are equal citizens, and reject all forms of racism, religious intolerance, and supremacist ideology.

The final three points urge the leaders of Sabah and Sarawak to take the initiative and fulfil the state’s autonomy within the Federation of Malaysia as promised by the founding fathers; reaffirm the fundamental right of Sabahans and Sarawakians to determine their own future; and affirm the commitment to build a modern, secular, democratic, progressive and sustainable future for all Sabahans and Sarawakians.

“We do not want Peninsular Malaysia to suddenly impose a framework where the population situation is like Muslims versus non-Muslims, or Malays versus non-Malays. This does not work very well in Sabah and Sarawak,” he said, stressing that Sabah and Sarawak must remain largely free from religious, ethnic and/or racial tension.

“We want to remain secular as per the wishes of our forefathers. I hope people use this 10-point agreement as a successor to the 20-point agreement,” said Chin.