Sabah 20-Point Agreement: Prologue

Colonial passport for the colonised people of North Borneo

Of late, there has been many attempts at attacking the unity of the nation through the skewing of historical facts.  Unfortunately, many in the government, too, do not have institutional memory of what our forefathers had gone through to allow the formation of the Federation of Malaysia.

The same lack of absence of institutional memory has also contributed to inability by many in 2011 to rebut Mat Sabu’s claim that the policemen who died in Bukit Kepong were ‘running dogs’ of the British colonials, and that the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) were true fighters for the independence of Malaya, while Ronnie Liu of the DAP sang the same tune in 2005.

I wrote at length to debunk Mat Sabu, whom I regard as DAP’s own ‘running dog.’  Since then I have embarked on my personal crusade to explain to the people through talks and forums about how the British came to Malaya, the treaties, who were colonised, which parts of Malaya that were not colonised, and what the CPM was fighting for.

On Malaysia Day 2016, I began posting about the making of the Federation of Malaysia.  I started off with the concept of Malaysia, followed by the consultations between the Government of Malaya, the British Government, the representatives from British North Borneo, and the British colony of Sarawak.  Then I wrote about the Reid Commission and reaction from our neighbours.  The last part covered the reasons we have Hari Kebangsaan and Hari Malaysia.

You may want to read the above links before I get into the heavy stuff.

Between now and Hari Malaysia, I shall write about the Sabah 20-Point Agreement.  In 1987, Dr Jeffrey Kitingan had commented on the Memorandum on the 20-Point Agreement for the Inclusion of Sabah into Malaysia.  This memorandum was presented by the leaders of British North Borneo to the Cobbold Commission as a prerequisite for the inclusion of Sabah into Malaysia.

However, the notion that this memorandum had been accepted in toto as the basis of British North Borneo’s inclusion into the Federation of Malaysia alongside the colony of Sarawak, the state of Singapore, and the states of the Federation of Malaya is inaccurate or baseless.

The contents of the Memorandum was not an agreement made by North Borneo, Sarawak, the British Government, and the Government of Malaya but were rather demands made by the leaders of North Borneo as a precursor to the consultations.

What became the basis for the inclusion of Sabah are the points that had been agreed upon by all parties, no more and no less.  After all, why had the leaders of North Borneo agreed for the colony to be included into the new Federation had there not been an agreement for that to happen in the first place?

The lack of understanding as well as misunderstanding of what had been agreed as well as the developments that had taken place since has presented the exploitative opportunity for certain elements to create resentment and anti-Federation sentiments  among the people of Sabah.

Therefore, I shall endeavour to explain and counter the points raised, not only to educate those in Sabah, but to also educate the rest of the people of Malaysia, as well as those in the Federal Government on the latter’s commitment towards not only Sabah, but also Sarawak and the specil privileges that have been accorded to them.

I shall make references to the following:

  • Report of the Commission of Enquiry, North Borneo and Sarawak, 21st June 1962;
  • Inter-Governmental Committee Report, 1962;
  • The Sabah State Constitution as at 10th July 1989;
  • The Federation of Malaysia Constitution as in 1989;
  • The Federation of Malaya Constitution as in 1962;
  • The Malaysia Solidarity Consultative Committee meeting, 3rd February 1962;
  • The Administration of Islamic Law Enactment of Sabah, No.15/77 dated 23rd December 1977;
  • Act 32 (National Language Act 1963/67) as in 1983;
  • The National Language (Application) Enactment of Sabah, 1973; and,
  • The Federation of Malaysia Agreement, 1963.

In the next part, I shall write about the first point of the memorandum – religion.

In the mean time, have patience and read Another Brick in the Wall’s take, as well as by The Right of Reply, on this issue, written a few years back.

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