The Road to Malaysia: Part 2 – Consultations

The Malaysia Solidarity Consultative Committee
The Malaysia Solidarity Consultative Committee

This article is a continuation from The Road to Malaysia: Part 1 – The Malaysia Concept.

During the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association of Asia (CPA) meeting in Singapore on the 23rd July 1961, a conference resolution to establish a Malaysia Consultative Committee led by North Borneo’s Donald Stephens and Sarawak United People’s Party’s Yeo Cheng Hoe. Both would become members of the Malaysia Solidarity Consultative Committee and hasten the formation of the Federation of Malaysia.

We see today how some foreign plenipotentiaries act in contravention of Article 41(1) and (2) of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, 1961 where the diplomat should not interfere with the internal affairs of the Receiving State and all businesses by the mission of the Sending State must be coordinated with the Foreign Ministry or any other relevant ministries of the Receiving State.  However, we see today various anti-government NGOs being courted by these foreign missions, even to the extent of having the number one diplomat attending and participating in the programs executed by these NGOs.

Things were not much different back in 1961 – especially for Singapore, although Singapore was still a Crown Colony with self-rule.  George Douglas Hamilton, the 10th Earl of Selkirk (Lord Selkirk) was often observed by Lee Kwan Yew to be making special efforts to court left-wing politicians especially PAP’s left-wing politician Lim Chin Siong, who are opposed to the Malaysia Concept.  This relationship grew stronger and especially after the Hong Lim by-election in April 1961 where an Independent thumped PAP’s candidate by a 4,927 majority, and later the Anson by-election in July 1961 where the Worker’s Party’s David Saul Marshall trounced PAP’s Mahmud Awang by a 546 majority.  Because of Lim Chin Siong’s ties with the communist-oriented Anti-British League, the PAP leadership began to be openly challenged by the pro-communist members of the PAP and were now prepared to assume leadership.  Tunku’s grouse with PAP is not that it is a pro-communist party, but that it is not anti-communist.

For the British, they did not mind if Singapore was governed by a pro-communist government as long as they are allowed to keep their base for use by the South-East Asia Treaty Organisation (SEATO).  To the communist, it was a good rallying point for the British to continue keeping Singapore as a colony and a base in order to attract more anti-colonial supporters to Singapore and the Borneo territories, and intensive anti-merger campaign was undertaken by the communists in Singapore.  Lee Kwan Yew believed that the British authority in Singapore had encourage the communists in the PAP to revolt against the non-communist leadership in PAP.  Kuan Yew coud not take action by imprisoning the communists for fear that he would be branded a British stooge and that would exacerbate the revolt by the communist against the PAP leadership. Merger with the Federation of Malaya was now central in his struggle against the communists.

The mood for Malaysia in Jesselton (now Kota Kinabalu) however was very good. When Ghazali Shafie arrived there, Sir William Almond Condrington Goode, the British Governor for North Borneo who was leaving for Sandakan told Ghazali to use his car to get around Jesselton for the Commonwealth Committee meeting.  As he got into Goode’s car, Ghazali noticed that the driver had not removed the state pennant from the car and asked the driver to do so, so he (Ghazali) could travel correctly in the car.  The driver turned around and replied that because of “Malaysia” he would drive Ghazali with the state pennant flying, and drove off with policemen saluting.

The Committee agreed that its aims and objectives should be to collect and collate views and opinions concerning the creation of Malaysia; to disseminate information on the question of Malaysia; to initiate and encourage discussions on Malaysia; and to foster activities that would promote and expedite the realisation of Malaysia. While Donald Stephens chaired the meeting, North Borneo was represented by Datu Mustapha, Singapore by S Rajaratnam, and Sarawak by Yeo Cheng Hoe.  All of them agreed with the grand plan.

William Goode was not happy with Donald Stephens’s statement on Malaysia, in particular the latter’s target date of 1963 for the formation.  Lord Selkirk had prior to this expressed that the people in British Borneo were not ready to govern themselves as they were still headhunters twenty years earlier.  Therefore, Selkirk opined that it would be better for the people of British Borneo to come under a Federation of North Borneo, Brunei and Sarawak for five to ten years before they could decide whether or not to merge with Malaya to form the Federation of Malaysia. Sir Alexander Waddle, H.C White and Sir William Goode, the Governors of Sarawak, Brunei and North Borneo respectively made mention on how the idea of Malaysia is being received warmly by the people of the respective states; however they were worried that the Singapore Chinese especially, would swamp them.

On the 26th and 27th August 1961, Ghazali Shafie met with Kadazan leaders as well as leaders from the United Kadazan National Organisation (UKNO) to explain to them the Malaysia Concept, and after hearing about the special position accorded to the Malays in the Federation of Malaya Constitution, they all agreed that Malaysia would be the best solution to protect especially the interests of the Kadazans.

Later at night on the 27th August 1961, the British District Officer had invited Ghazali for drinks with British, European as well as Chinese leaders.  Ghazali had suspected that it was more of an exercise to intimidate him.  True enough some asked what was the advantage that the Federation of Malaya would get from Malaysia to which Ghazali replied saying that the question of advantage to Malaya would not arise as Malaya would simply cease to exist with the formation of Malaysia.  Another pointed his finger at Ghazali and poked him in the chest asking why is Malaya in a hurry to form Malaysia since the people of British Borneo were not yet ready and to let the states of Borneo form their own Federation first?  Ghazali pointed his finger back at the person and reminded him that the Tunku had merely made a mention about the Malaysia Concept once in Singapore and one or two more statements after that, and if the person felt that he was being pressured it was not because Malaya had pressured him but that he had been caught in a new political whirlpool within the Borneo territories and he had little knowledge of and was not keen on adjusting himself to the new order.

Back in Kuala Lumpur, Lee Kuan Yew was in absolute hurry for Singapore to be merged with Malaysia.  The threat of the communist was real.  In a discussion, he agreed with the Tunku that the rights of the Malays in Singapore would take precedence as the Malays in Malaya and Singapore, together with the “sons of the soil” in North Borneo and Sarawak, would form the single largest entity in the new Federation. The Tunku lamented to Kuan Yew that Malaya was very short of effective Chinese leaders. Tan Siew Sin of the MCA was a very sincere and clever man but could not speak any Chinese dialect to be really influential among the Chinese masses. It was no secret then that the Tunku would prefer to have Kuan Yew to assist him in managing the politics among the Chinese in the new Malaysia.

Back in North Borneo, trouble was brewing. The British Government had sent Donald Stephens to the UK to attend the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association meeting, while colonial officials in North Borneo worked on to split the Kadazan by saying that Donald Stephens was not a real Kadazan.  As a result, UKNO was split into three factions: one following Donald Stephens, another following Abdul Ghani Gilong, while the other following Orang Kaya-Kaya GS Sundang. Datu Mustapha himself was offered two million Ringgit by a wealthy Chinese to form a political party that would espouse the Malaysia Concept but at its own pace, prefering to hang on to the colonial administration. On hearing this, Ghazali advised Mustapha to form a firm relationship with Donald Stephens in order to bring together the natives of North Borneo. Once a strong base was established, the Chinese would have no choice but to capitulate.

It was not an easy task.  Donald Stephens was from the Kadazandusun community.  The Kadazans and Dusuns were naturally biased towards the colonial officials and the white rulers who served the North Borneo Company before them.  These white rulers’ laws protected them from pirates and coastal marauders who plundered their homes and treated them with no respect – the Suluks.  Since Mustapha was a Suluk, the Kadazans and Dusuns treated him with fear and distrust though not without awe and respect.  That was how the British applied the divide et impera policy to keep them apart.

On the 27th September 1961, the British High Commissioner to Malaya, Sir Geofroy William Tory, called upon Ghazali Shafie to inform the latter that the Governors of North Borneo and Sarawak reported that the people of North Borneo were thinking along the thoughts of the Governors – that is to form a North Borneo Federation instead. When pressed for further explanation, Tory admitted that the Governors were talking in terms of what the Chinese businessmen said.

On the 9th October 1961, Donald Stephens, Mustapha and with about thirty people in the North Borneo delegation arrived in Kuala Lumpur at the invitation of the Tunku who spoke to them both about the need to forget past quarrels and work together for the people of North Borneo. The Tunku also spoke to them about the Chinese community in North Borneo who very much supported the colonial administration there but told them to not be hostile towards the Chinese.

After dinner that night, Mustapha spoke to the attendees about how he and Donald Stephens had decided to form a political movement that would devote itself towards the independence of North Borneo through the Malaysia Concept.  He also confessed to have regarded Donald Stephens as a rival for the leadership of the natives, but must now be brothers for the sake of North Borneo and encouraged the other community leaders in the delegation to do the same to one another.

Donald Stephens was more emotional. Tears were rolling down his cheeks when he admitted he had not trusted Mustapha before and asked for the latter’s forgiveness.  There was a thunderous applause and both Mustapha and Donald Stephens embraced each other and announced to those present that they were now blood brothers and pledged to work together for the well-being of the people through the Malaysia Concept.

A North Borneo Chinese by the name of Chan also spoke in support of the Malaysia Concept and thought the Chinese should also form a political party.  He, Donald Stephens and Mustapha then held hands together with everyone else and shouted Merdeka Malaysia ten times in keeping with the feng shui of the double ten – it was already the 10th October 1961, and this happened inside the Federal Hotel on Jalan Bukit Bintang.

After much deliberation at the second Malaysian Solidarity Consultative Committee meeting in Kuching, as well as some political maneuvering to get the support of Kalong Ningkan and his Sarawak National Party (SNAP) as well as to neutralise the opposition to the PAP within UMNO led by Aziz Ishak, it was decided that an Enquiry Commission, as envisaged by the Tunku and Harold MacMillan, to be appointed to gauge the desirability of the Malaysia Concept among the people of North Borneo and Sarawak.


In Part Three, we shall look into the Cobbold Commission’s work and findings, and reaction by our neighbours.

Lighting The Wrong Path

Alwi_Jantan
Tan Sri Alwi Jantan

There is nothing wrong with wanting to be a moderate.  Moderation is what is preached in Islam.  Moderation is what seems to be eroding by the day not just in Islam, but in other religions and cuts across the racial board as well.  And this applies to every single country there is on the face of this Earth.  And to have a group of people advocating moderation is a more-than-welcome effort in this young-but-amnesiac country that seems to have lost all institutional memory of the events that had brought about the Federal Constitution of Malaysia.

Reading the The Star’s interview with Tan Sri Alwi Jantan (Torchbearers for founding fathers – Sunday, 4th September 2016) I cannot help but agree to some of his points, but at the same time feel as if there is some form of misguidance, or misinterpretation of the Federal Constitution, and a deliberate misleading on the respected Tan Sri’s part.

I agree that rather than focusing on petty issues such as whether or not the Langkawi statue is haram, the religious councils as well as JAKIM should focus more on the development of correct as well as balanced knowledge on Islamic subjects such as TauhidFardhus Ain and Kifayah.  This is important to counter the influence of deviationists especially that of the Da’esh.  However, religious as well as racial extremism is not confined to Islam alone.  In the name of pluralism as advocated by the G25, there should only be single-stream schools.  Children who do not grow up together will grow up apart. We can never talk about unity and understanding if we do not understand each other.  Preserving the mother-tongue can be done after formal classes are over and this can be done at the school itself, perhaps after lunch. So could the Islamic religious classes. In the latter category, this would ensure that correct teachings are being imparted to the children rather than by private religious schools whose curriculum are not being monitored effectively by the religious councils. Also that way working parents do not need to worry about the whereabouts of their children and can pick them up at school after work, or a similar arrangement could be made.

In a plural society such as ours, the need for our children to grow up together for the sake of unity is paramount. Sending children to separate schools based on mother tongue rather than a common national language is against the spirit of the Constitution. When the Constitution was being drafted for it to be in operation by Merdeka Day 1957, the Reid Commission adopted the Alliance’s (UMNO, MCA and MIC) proposal to establish Malay as the official language of the Federation. However, there were differences on how to go about with this.  Ng Ek Teong, the MCA representative submitted that English should be allowed to be used for official purposes for a minimum of 10 years. MIC was in support of this.  Both MCA and MIC also proposed for Mandarin and Tamil be allowed to be used in the legislatures for a minimum period of 10 years.  UMNO however proposed that English be allowed to be used for a maximum period of ten years after independence. Ng Ek Tong told the Commission that this would only serve as a temporary measure (Colonial Office CO 889/6, Minutes of Alliance hearing before the Reid Commission, 27 September 1956, pp 290-294).  Tunku Abdul Rahman however said:

“At the end of 10 years, the general trend will be that people will still demand for it and the people who propose it now are not sure that they would be there to guarantee it. It is bound to cause a lot of debate later on.” (Ibid.)

Even Lord William Reid himself was not in favour of the proposal by MCA and MIC saying that it would cause practical difficulties (Ibid/Making of the Malayan Constitution, Joseph M Fernando, pp 128-129).  It was for this reason that the Tunku promoted the Rumi script for the Malay language at the expense of the Jawi script to enable the non-Malays to learn the national language rapidly (Tunku Abdul Rahman (1984), op. cit., pp. 112-114).  This has been enshrined in Article 152 of the Federal Constitution as well as in the National Language Act, 1963/1967.

The reality of it now is that the migrant workers from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Myanmar are more able to grasp the Malay language than many of our own Identity Card-wielding citizens.  Mind you, they also stood still at Dataran Merdeka while the NegaraKu was being played. Our own citizens refuse to stand up when the NegaraKu was being played in the cinemas, extinguishing the very torch of our founding fathers.

The Constitution is secular only up to a certain point. The Reid Commission, commissioned by both Her Majesty The Queen of England and the Malay Rulers had initially omitted a proposal by the Malay Rulers to have Islam as the religion of the Federation.  Reid saw it fit that matters of religion be handled only by the Ruler of the respective States, and that the special position of the Malays be reviewed after 15 years.

When the report was published, the strongest objections came from the man revered by Malaysians now as the father of multiracialism – Dato Onn Jaafar, who as the leader of Parti Negara said that the Malays had been let down.  PAS claimed that the Malay interests had been cast aside (von Vorys (1975), op. cit., p.132). Hence, the Tunku later submitted that Islam be made the religion of the Federation with two provisos added: first that it would not affect the position of the Rulers as head of religion in their respective States; second, the practice and propagation of other religions to the non-Malays in the Federation would be assured under the Constitution (UMNO/SUA 154/56, Minutes of Alliance ad-hoc political sub-committee meeting, 2 April 1957).

Sir Donald Charles MacGillivray personally felt that such a provision would be advantageous because the Yang DiPertuan Agong could at the same time become the head of the faith in the Settlements of Penang and Malacca (CO 1030/524 (10), MacGillivray to Secretary of State, 25 February 1957; See also CO 1030/524 (18), MacGillivray to Secretary of State, 21 March 1957).

Fast forward to the present, Article 3 of the Federal Constitution has clearly mentioned Islam as the religion of the Federation with the Rulers being the Head of religion in their respetive States, while the Yang DiPertuan Agong becomes the Head of religion in the States of Pulau Pinang, Melaka, Sabah and Sarawak, as well as in the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur, Labuan and Putrajaya.  It is not an official religion but the religion of the Federation.  The provisos added to safeguard the practice and propagation of other religions are now enshrined in Article 11 with limits to propagate given in Clause 4 of the said Article, to safeguard and honour the position of Islam as the religion of the Federation.

There is even a separation of jurisdiction when it comes to the position of Islam in the Federal Constitution.  The Syariah Law comes under the purview of the respective Rulers, and the Attorney-General of Malaysia, under Article 145(3) does not have the jurisdiction over proceedings before a Syariah court, a native court of a court-martial.  This separation of jurisdition is also present as provided by Article 121(1A) where both the High Court of Malaya and High Court of Sabah and Sarawak do not have any jurisdiction over Syariah matters.  Therefore, the respected Tan Sri should be aware that, borrowing the words of Sir Stamford Raffles in a 1815 letter to his cousin mentioned how “Religion and laws are so united” in Muslim dominated areas that the introduction of Christian beliefs will bring about “much mischief, much bitterness of heart and contention”. (Seademon, A Case For God, 1 Jan 2013) .

Even Act 355, the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act, 1965 (last revised in 1988)  states the following:

1. (1) This Act may be cited as the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction), 1965.

1. (2) This Act shall apply to all the States of Peninsular Malaysia.

2. The Syariah Courts duly constituted under any law in a State and invested with jurisdiction over persons professing the religion of Islam and in respect of any of the matters enumerated in List II of the State List of the Ninth Schedule to the Federal Constitution are hereby conferred jurisdiction in respect of offences against precepts of the religion of Islam by persons professing that religion which may be prescribed under any written law:

Provided that such jurisdiction shall not be exercised in respect of any offence punishable with imprisonment for a term exceeding three years or with any fine exceeding five thousand ringgit or with whipping exceeding six strokes or with any combination thereof.

The Act, clearly says that it first and foremost, applies to all States of the Peninsular Malaysia. It is not applicable to where the Yang DiPertuan Agong is the Head of religion ie. the Federal Territories, Sabah and Sarawak.  Second, it applies only to Muslims and any matters in List II of the State List of the Ninth Schedule to the Federal Constitution. Third, it cannot propose any punishment that prescribes any jail term exceeding three years, or with any fine exceeding five thousand ringgit, or with whipping exceeding six strokes or with any combination thereof.

Therefore, there is no question of introducing stoning to death, amputation of limbs etc.  Anything above those limitations will be referred to the Criminal Courts.

So, Tan Sri, care to explain how are secularism and pluralism being attacked with examples of provisos of the Federal Constitution or any laws made under it?

Finally, let me quote the interview given by the respected Tan Sri to The Star:

G25 has also expanded its scope to include good governance and tackling corruption. As not only the former head of the PSD but also former secretary-general in the Local Government and Federal Territory Ministry, Health Ministry and Agriculture Ministry, Alwi has focused on good governance, which he calls the precondition for a constitutional democracy: “Those in power must be made accountable for their actions and conduct.”

During his time, civil servants were able to do their jobs without fear or favour, he recalls. “The division of responsibilities between the politicians and civil servants was fairly clear cut.”

But over time good governance has been eroded at an alarming rate, he says.

“There are hardly any more checks and balances.”

What either the good Tan Sri or The Star have also failed to mention is the fact that for more than three years, Tan Sri Alwi Jantan was the Deputy Secretary-General for the Prime Minister’s Department under the founder of Parti Pribumi, Mahathir Mohamad.  Mahathir’s now good friend, Lim Kit Siang, wrote not so long ago, on Thursday, 12 February 2015 at 12.57pm:

“This shows the rot in Malaysia, but it is a rot which was started during Mahathir’s 22-year premiership, and by Mahathir himself!

Today, Mahathir is obsessed with the toppling of Najib as Prime Minister, but this is not because he wanted to stop the rot in Malaysia, to restore the independence and integrity of the judiciary and a just rule of law; to end the subversion of the independence and professionalism of national institutions whether the civil service, the police, the elections commission or anti-corruption agency; eradicate rampant corruption; restore ethics and honesty in public life; re-establish a good education system or restore Malaysia’s economic competitiveness.

Mahathir wants Najib out as the Prime Minister for Malaysia, not to stop the rot which was started by him during his premiership, but for an agenda personal to himself.

This is the rot of Hamlet in Malaysia.”

I’m surprised the good Tan Sri had made no mention whatsoever of this episode.  And he was a civil servant by definition, under the tutelage of the Pribumi person himself and remained in public service until 16 April 1990, thirteen years before Mahathir steped down.

So, Tan Sri, it is good that you want to become the torchbearer of the founding fathers of this blessed nation. However, please ensure that you are on the right path first before you decide to light that torch and guide others.

Sarawak Repost

SARAWAK

Give enough rope and he will hang himself

That is how the idiom goes.  Muhyiddin was the first one to admit that there was a conspiracy to topple Najib Razak.  Then recently Mahathir himself named the conspirators as former Governor of Bank Negara Zeti Aktar Aziz, former Attorney-General Gani Patail, and former head of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Abu Kassim.  Mahathir’s favourite news portal Sarawak Report has now joined in and underscored the role of the three in trying to bring down Najib Razak. This time around, the Sarawak Report (SR) has gone overboard by including His Majesty The Yang DiPertuan Agong into the conspiracy.

The SR claims that by middle of 2015, all three conspirators agreed that Najib Razak had embezzled billions from public funds “not only to fund lavish frivolities for the PM and his wife and family, but also influence the outcome of a very tight election.”

First and foremost, the investigation into the 1MDB was far from over in the middle of 2015.  A quick check of SPRM’s press statements archive found no such announcement being made. Furthermore, Najib Razak as the accused had not been called to give his statement regarding the 1MDB, and it was only in December 2015 that Najib Razak was summoned to do so.  How a charge sheet was drafted before investigation was completed is beyond me.  When investigations were completed and submitted to the 20-member Public Accounts Committee, the PAC released its findings on 7th April 2016 that there is absolutely no truth in billions having gone missing, and that the 1MDB issue is solely governance in nature.  This findings was also agreed and signed by six Opposition members of the PAC including Tony Pua himself.

As for influencing a very tight election, the SR’s myopic reporting means that nothing is ever mentioned about journalist Nile Bowie’s report on the millions of USD channeled to the Opposition and/or Opposition-friendly organisations annually to fund activities that would destabilise the ruling government.The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) has channeled millions to beneficiaries such as SUARAM, BERSIH, Merdeka Center for Opinion Research through the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI) and the International Republican Institute (IRI).  The IRI, said Nile Bowie, received $802,122 in 2010 to work with “state leaders in Penang and Selangor to provide them with public opinion research, training and other resources to enable them to be more effective representatives of their constituents”. IRI claims that it “does not provide direct funding to political parties” in Malaysia, but their lack of transparency, significant budget and emphasis on helping broaden the appeal of political parties in opposition-held states suggests at the very minimum that funding is taking place indirectly.

The SR also claims that Najib Razak is the sole shareholder and decision-maker in the 1MDB and the only man able to sign off investment decisions such as the Joint Ventures with Petrosaudi and Aabar,

Screen Shot 2016-08-24 at 10.36.52

Perhaps, the SR does not know that the Minister of Finance (Incorporated) was passed in an Act of law in 1957 through the Minister of Finance (Incorporation) Act, 1957 that was revised under Mahathir Mohamad’s tenure in September 1987. Its objectives are to ensure sustained and continuous economic growth; to strengthen national competitiveness and economic resilience; to ensure effective and prudent financial management; to pursue a more equitable sharing of national wealth; and to improve quality of life and well being of society. It is headed by one Encik Asri of Bahagian Menteri Kewangan (Diperbadankan). And mind you, Najib Razak is not the only Minister of Finance. There is a dedicated Minister of Finance whose time is 100 percent there unlike Najib Razak. He is NOT a Deputy Minister, he is a FULL Finance Minister.

Of course, according to the SR, the conspirators then had no choice but to bring the matters to His Majesty Yang DiPertuan Agong, and the Yang DiPertuan Agong agreed that Najib Razak should step down “while prosecution took its course.”  Like I mentioned above, how was it possible for prosecution to proceed when Najib Razak himself had not been questioned on his involvement by the very agencies claimed by SR to have decided to prosecute? Furthermore, what Constitutional powers does the Yang DiPertuan Agong have to tell Najib Razak to step down?  Even Lim Guan Eng, already investigated and charged in court on two counts of corruption, has not left office to let prosecution take its course!

On the 28th July 2015, Gani Patail was removed as the Attorney-General and was replaced by Mohamed Apandi Ali.  SR pointed that the act of removing the AG was unconstitutional.  Allow me to go slightly deep into the Federal Constitution of Malaysia to comment on this claim.

The Federation of Malaya was born on 31st August 1957, adopting a new Constitution that replaced the Federated Malay States Constitution of 1948.  During that time, the Attorney-General was Cecil Majella Sheridan, a practicing solicitor who joined the Colonial Legal Service to help reopen the courts in 1946 after World War Two.  He was posted to Kelantan and Terengganu to become the States’ Legal Adviser and Deputy Public Prosecutor. In 1955, he became the Legal Draftsman for the Federation. Upon Indepence, Sheridan was made the Solicitor-General and subsequently the Attorney-General in 1959. Sheridan then began to prepare for the enlargement of Malaya into Malaysia (with the accession in 1963 of Singapore, Sabah and Sarawak). In the process, he worked closely with Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Razak, and Lee Kuan Yew, of Singapore.

During this time, Article 145 of the Federal Constitution was limited to five clauses only.  Article 145(5) then provided that “the Attorney-General shall not be removed from office except on the like grounds and in the like manner as a judge of the Federal Court.”  This Article was drafted by the Reid Commission and subsequently passed to be included in the Federal Constitution of 1957.  A Government White Paper explained the need for Article 145(5):

It is essential that , in discharging his duties, the Attorney-General should act in an impartial and quasi-judicial spirit. A clause has therefore been included to safeguard the Attorney-General’s position by providing that he shall not be removed from office except on the like grounds and in the like manner as a Judge of the Supreme Court.

This is still maintained in Articles 105(3) for the Auditor-General and 125(3) for the Judges.

With the imminent formtion of the Federation of Malaysia, Sheridan amended Clause 5 of Article 145 and added Clause 6 to facilitate his eventual removal from the AG’s position.  Article 145(6) of the Federation of Malaysia Constitution, 1963 reads:

The person holding the office of the Attorney-General immediately prior to the coming into operation of this Article (note: specific reference to Sheridan) shall continue to hold the office on terms and conditions not less favourable than those applicable to him immediately before such coming into operation and shall not be removed from office except on the like grounds and the like manner as a judge of the Federal Court.

And Clause 5 of the Article was changed to the following:

Subject to Clause (6), the Attorney-General shall hold office during the pleasure of the Yang DiPertuan Agong and may at any time resign his office and, unless he is a member of the Cabinet, shall receive such remuneration as the Yang DiPertuan Agong may determine.

Article 145 was amended for two reasons according to Sheridan’s successor, Abdul Cadir Yusoff: one is the desire to have “the most suitable person available for the performance of the onerous tasks” of the AG’s office regardless whether the person was from the pubic service or not, and secondly the impartiality of a political appointee could be assured by conferring on him “untrammelled constitutional discretion.” Bear in mind that Abdul Cadir was both a lawyer and a politician and could not have been appointed under the previous version of the Constitution.  Nowhere in the Constitution, in its present form, requires for the formation of a tribunal to remove or replace an Attorney-General as applicable to the Auditor-General and Judges via Articles 105(3) and 125(3).

Therefore, Gani Patail’s removal was not unconstitutional.

I refuse to comment on the rest of the fairy tale that Clare Rewcastle Brown had conjured because she seemed excited plucking these stories from a very low sky that her nipples probably scrape the ground giving her that pleasure. Like the story about the fire that had occured at the Royal Malaysian Police Headquarters in Bukit Aman, as she claimed “destroyed evidence of money laundering” when the division that was investigating the 1MDB issue is housed in a different building in a different part of the Bukit Aman complex.  Also on the murder of DPP Kevin Morais whom she said was the one who had drafted the charge against Najib Razak when the poor sod was confirmed by his own brother and by authorities not investigating 1MDB.

You can choose to believe Sarawak Report if you wish to.  All Clare Rewcastle Brown does is to repost trash and expands on it, grabbing more invisible low hanging fruits while her nipples harden at being scraped against the asphalt. Must make her wet teling lies. But it’s funny how the white trash seem to have conveniently omitted Justo from the equation.

Nothing to hide? I don’t think so.

The Bittersweet Alliance – Part 1

The philosopher Jorge Agustín Nicolás Ruiz de Santayana y Borrás or George Santayana once said that those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.  The recurrence of history is part of life’s cycle, but always in different forms.  Those who do not remember how certain historical lows were handled are bound to make even bigger mistakes.

 

Recently, there was a furor following the statement made by UMNO’s Ismail Sabri , the Agriculture and Agro-Based Industries Minister, asking consumers to boycott greedy Chinese businesses.  While it is normal to hear the communal-party-disguised-as-a-non-communal-party DAP lashing out at Ismail Sabri, the call by MCA’s Youth Chief, Chong Sin Woon, for the sacking of Ismail Sabri did not go down well with UMNO and 92 Divisions of the latter rallied behind Ismail asking for Sin Woon to be sacked instead.

 

While I refuse to indulge in a debate over what was said by Ismail Sabri, there is a need for consumers to boycott profiteering businesses who whine about high cost of fuel and pressured the government to allow them to increase the price of their services, but refused to lower prices when the price of fuel has gone down by half.  What I am more interested in is the bittersweet alliance between UMNO and MCA, and how history is repeating itself.

 

While the movement for the independence of Malaya had started decades before, there was no cohesion between races. In 1946 when the Malayan Union was formed, the republican-in-nature Partai Kebangsaan Melayu Malaya (PKMM) and the non-Malay Malayan Democratic Union (MDU) were quick to support the formation.  The PKMM, a spin-off from the Batavia-leaning KMM of Ibrahim Yaacob, was all for a Malaya not ruled by the Malay Rulers, while the MDU liked the idea of automatic citizenship (read more in Seademon’s The Road To Merdeka: Persekutuan Tanah China ) for the immigrants. On 1st March 1946, more than 40 Malay organisations met up and 41 decided to form the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) to champion the Malay rights.  The Malays were then a minority in his own land, poor, sidelined from economic development, health care and formal education.  With the help and encouragement of the then-British High Commissioner, Sir Henry Gurney, the Malayan Chinese Association (MCA) was formed on the 27th February, 1949. Gurney aimed at winning the allegiance of the Chinese community away from the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) (Colonial Office Record 537/773(1) Memorandum by Henry Gurney, 28th January, 1949).

 

There was apprehension and distrust between the Malays and Chinese.  The alienation of the Malays by Chinese mining tycoons and rubber estate owners, followed by the preference of the Japanese of the Malays over the immigrant Chinese, and this in turn followed by retribution against the Malays by Chinese sympathizers of the CPM after the Japanese surrender have had contributed enormously to this animosity between the two.

 

It was since 1950 that Henry Gurney had wanted to introduce some form of democracy to Malaya through elections to satisfy the public’s hunger for democracy versus the communist’s way of winning self-government.  Alas, he was only a High Commissioner and still had to go through the true rulers of the Federation of Malaya – The Malay Rulers.  So, during the 10th Malay Rulers Meeting on the 22nd and 23rd February, 1950, Gurney presented his recommendation, only to be met with reluctance of the Malay Rulers.  In the minutes of meeting, the Sultan of Kedah stated his reservation:

 

The most important prerequisite for democracy is education. Without enlightened public opinion a democratic system of Government will be liable to unsteadiness or even confusion and chaos. One danger is that it may be transformed into a single party government through a few skilled electioneers working among the apathetic population and this will work towards dictatorship.” (Colonial Office Records 537/6025(1))

 

The Malays, as mentioned above, were left behind educationally and may not know what is best for them.  For the same reason the PKMM and MDU were in full support of the Malayan Union four years prior to this event.  And whatever the outcome, the Malays would have ended up the biggest losers if no one champions their rights. Noted William L Holland in “Nationalism in Malaya” (WL Holland, 1953):

 

“There was already Malay discontent in the pre-war period over the poor economic position vis-a-vis the Chinese and Indians. Malay peasants and fishermen, noted S.H Silcock and Ungku Aziz, were dependent on Chinese middlemen while Malays worked as messengers in offices where Chinese and Indians were clerks.”

 

The phrases made bold above by me, still holds true today and became the basis of Ismail Sabri’s main grouse against profiteering businessmen.

 

Gurney had to bring about some form of democratic self-rule that would benefit all races.  Separately he discussed on numerous occasions with both MCA and Dato’ Onn and impressed upon them that self-rule would only happen if there is a closer relations between the communities (The Making of the Malayan Constitution, Joseph M Fernando, 2002, Page 15).  Gurney was all for the promotion of Sino-Malay talks to tackle long-term problems.  Gurney minuted the following:

 

“The outstanding issues at that stage were citizenship and the economic backwardness of the Malays.  The Chinese leaders sought a more liberalised citizenship than those contained in the 1948 Federation of Malaya Agreement.  Onn meanwhile , had approached the Colonial Office to secure financial assistance for the Malays.” (Colonial Office Records 537/773(1))

 

Onn Jaafar, however, was more open towards a better relationship between the Malays and other races if UMNO was to achieve the long-term ambition of self-governing the nation.  In the UMNO annual general meeting in Arau, Perlis, on the 28th May 1949, he said in his speech:

 

It is absolutely important for the Malays to obtain closer ties with the other people in this country.  It is time for us to take the view wider than the kampung view.  I ask of you, which will you choose, peace or chaos, friendship or enmity?” (Straits Times, 29th May, 1949)

 

It was at this meeting that UMNO had agreed to accept non-Malays as associate members.  Two years later, in June 1951, Onn went a step further by proposing that UMNO should open its doors to the non-Malays, and that UMNO be renamed the “United Malayan National Organisation.”  While the top echelon of the party was supportive of this idea, the grassroot felt it was too radical.  The bitterness resulting from the years of resentment and occasional interracial violence were too new for them to accept the non-Malays into their political fold.  As a result, Onn left UMNO to form a new party called the Independence of Malaya Party (IMP) despite Gurney’s insistence that the former should remain in UMNO.  Onn gambled that UMNO would fall apart and would rally behind him.  Instead, UMNO rallied behind its new leader, Tunku Abdul Rahman, who sought to retain and strengthen UMNO’s communal organisational structure.  The Tunku also threatened to expel from UMNO any member that joins or had joined the IMP (Straits Times, 18th September, 1951).

 

The MCA meanwhile remained a loose association of both “neutral” Chinese and the hardcore sympathizers of the CPM.  Gurney had felt that the MCA had not gained much support from the Chinese community and the CPM sympathizers especially to help bring about a speedy end of the First Emergency.  The Perak MCA Chairman, Leong Yew Koh, wrote to Cheng Lock on 1st June, 1950:

 

“Although the Perak MCA membership is 40,000 strong, the branch is a mere basin of loose sand.” (Tan Cheng Lock Papers, ISEAS Singapore, Folio IX)

 

Cheng Lock was quick to suggest that the MCA should become more political in order to better represent the Chinese:

 

“The MCA should not exist only for the limited, though vital, purpose of the meeting the emergency.  It is a living institution which should consolidate itself on a strong and broad democratic foundation, in order that it may be ready to play a part in Malaya of the future as well as the present.” (Colonial Office Records 1022/176)

 

Thus, the stage is set for two political giants to go against each other for political power, after which we will see whether it was the Tunku or not who played the pivotal role in making the alliance between UMNO and MCA come true.

 

Stay tuned.