Why allow Singapore secession if seditious?

Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan

Leaders from Malaya and their Sabah representatives should stop making an excuse of making calls for secession as seditious or against the Constitution to prevent Sabah and Sarawak from leaving the Federation of Malaysia. Instead of following the Umno BN dictatorial regime, a diplomatic and consultative approach would be a better option to persuade Sabahans and Sarawakians to remain in the Federation.

The people in Sabah and Sarawak know for a fact that Sabah and Sarawak were taken for a ride and cheated outright in the formation of Malaysia.

They also know that Malaya needs Sabah and Sarawak more than Sabah and Sarawak need Malaya and without Sabah and Sarawak’s oil wealth, Malaya and Malaysia would go bankrupt well before 2019 given its current national debt of about RM700 billion. 

Sabah and Sarawak has nothing or little to gain by remaining in Malaysia with the existing arrangement as the 12th and 13th State of Malaya masquerading as Malaysia.

PM Najib made a huge mistake in announcing at the Umno general assembly last year end that the 1948 colonial Sedition Act will be amended with additions to make it seditious against calls for Sabah and Sarawak to leave Malaysia. 

Pakatan leaders should not be following in Najib’s footsteps if they wish to have a realistic chance of taking over Putrajaya in GE-14. They would need the support of Sabah and Sarawak to win control of Putrajaya.

If secession is seditious and or against the Constitution, why was it Singapore was allowed secession in 1965? Shouldn’t the Singapore leaders then be charged for sedition if it was seditious?

Not only did the federal government allowed Singapore to depart. They actually signed the agreement departing with Singapore before the motion to approve the departure was tabled in Parliament on 9th August 1965 without the MPs from Singapore. The federal Parliament was merely asked to endorse and rubber-stamp the departure.

Obviously, they were not charged and Singapore was allowed to go separate ways because as said by Lord Lansdowne, Chairman of the IGC:

“… any State voluntarily entering a federation had an intrinsic right to secede at will, and that it was, therefore, unnecessary to include it in the Constitution.”

Nowhere is it stated in the Federal Constitution that Sabah and Sarawak are not allowed to secede. 

Even the British who started the sedition laws know better and the Sedition Act has been abolished in the United Kingdom where sedition is no longer a criminal offence. 

If the federal leaders care to listen, Sabah and Sarawak nationalists and activists are not seeking secession but restoration of the legitimate rights, privileges and autonomy of the Borneo States that were taken away or eroded since 1963. Of course, there was a basis that led to the formation of Malaysia and if that basis is not honoured, one of the lawful and legal recourse would be a de-merger or dissolution. In such an event, it is not secession.

If the federal leaders wish to have Sabah and Sarawak remain in Malaysia, a soft and diplomatic approach would probably be more successful. Even the Attorney General had advised on this recourse. 

However, if the federal government thinks otherwise and were to charge any Sabah/Sarawak nationalist for sedition, it would be their gravest mistake.  

It will be a golden opportunity to open the flood gates to the international community of the dark secrets and the wrong-doings against Sabah and Sarawak in Malaysia. It will also mark the beginning of the end and break-up of the Malaysian federation.

Datuk Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan

Chairman, STAR Sabah