If Sarawak for referendum, Sabah is..?



Press statement for immediate release


If Sarawak for referendum, Sabah is..?


Kota Kinabalu: 10/05/2014, Saturday

When Kota Sentosa Assemblyman Chong Chieng Jen told the Dewan Negeri Sarawak yesterday (09/05/2014, Malaysia Insider-news portal) that if a referendum to decide whether Sarawak should remain in Malaysia were held today 75% of Sarawakians would opt for separation.  That prompted this writer the director of Director of PIPPA –Progressive Institute of Public Policy Analysis Sabah to refer to his material titled “What do we mean by autonomy?” which he wrote and presented at the seminar  “Malaysia Agreement 1963” held in Kuching on 26/04/2014 organised by Sarawak Sovereignty Movement chaired by Datuk Morshidi Abd Rahman who is the chairman of SSM

How secession can be made and in the context of Malaysia?

For Amde only those unfamiliar or left behind in the study of this subject may raise eyebrows this is partly because ‘we’ people in this region were so used to coercion, frightened and threatened by the authority. But in today’s scenario no country can intimidate its citizens forever.

In Malaysia, word autonomy had never been said openly until SAPP leaders did in November 2010, at the eve of Batu Sapi, Sandakan by election. SAPP was accused of wanting to pull out of Malaysia. Voters scared like hell. The rest we knew the result. But, now Sarawak talks about separation from the Federation of Malaysia another step above autonomy.

According to Amde, in his paper, with the current political scenario in Malaysia there are three options available for Malaysia Borneo States. One, proceed with the current political system, nothing changed. Two, demand for autonomy, because that is our legal rights under Malaysia Agreement 1963, another way of saying it, is, restore the agreement because that what people expected. Third, secede from Malaysia.

Only recently the Federal Minister of Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government, Datuk Abd Rahman Dahlan said Sabah and Sarawak cannot secede from the federation. But Amde pointed out in Article 2, Federal Constitution no mentioning about secession, but that doesn’t mean you can secede, this is not unusual in legal interpretation of English law. The general concept, if one is voluntarily of his own freewill to join an association it is assumed he is also of freewill to leave.

The International law experts have no problem in agreeing, they are two main UN bodies that concerned with secession, International Covenant on Civil an Political Rights ICCPR and International economic, Social and Cultural Rights ICESCR, those are the referrals, take Somalia as classical example. Other legal theorist like Allen Buchanan says, secession is allowed:  a state can secede for any reasons, only if there are grave injustices or both.



Hj Amde Sidik, Director of PIPPA (Progressive Institute of Public Policy Analysis, Sabah)

Amde Sidik is a former university lecturer, taught law and International Institutions & Political Environment at local and overseas. Graduate with LLB, MSc & LLM, researcher and author. He now lives in Kota Kinabalu