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Malaysia Agreement Act 1963

By Patrick Anek Uren
The topic we are discussing today, MALAYSIA AGREEMENT 1963, is one which is almost 51 years too late, or an old
issue that had not been openly discussed since the birth of the Federation of Malaysia.
This discussion of the topic in an open forum such as this one today is indeed is a milestone in itself. And I express
many thanks to the recent bold move on the part of the federal government before last GE13 in removing the many
archaic and inhibitive laws in the field of public discourse, for the change. In the past public discussion of issues,
although might be considered of national interest affecting everybody, were not encouraged. Nay, it was a taboo to
hold public forum on this issue before.
I consider the mood in the air of the local scene has become more relaxed as well. My enthusiasm as such is
underscored by two (2) recent developments:
(i). The State Government under our former Chief Minister who is now our Tuan TerUtama Yang diPertua Negeri
Sarawak, Pehin Sri Taib Mahmud, had seen it fit and timely, and did for the first time, and it was last year 2013, held a
grand dinner party in commemoration of the occasion of Sarawaks Independence granted by the British on 22nd July
(ii). During the recent Balingian By-election Sarawaks new Chief Minister, Datuk Sri Adenan Satem, spoke about
Sarawak is for Sarawakian, ie when he retorted to criticisms that a number of personalities from PKR Malaya were
barred from entering the State to campaign in the by-election. These two recent events aforesaid are important
milestones in the pages of our history by themselves, if not, signalling a new beginning, or an awakening of sort, of an
openness of a kind.
Without further ado I move now to talk on the topic on hand Malaysia Agreement 1963.
The premise.
This short talk I will deliver is premised on a view which is now gaining more traction among the people: On the one
hand Malaysia from its inception has always been about British economic interests would be better served in the
short and long term were former British Colonies in South East Asia: Sarawak, Sabah, Singapore, to merge with
Malaya in one entity, Malaysia. And, on the other hand it served the long term Malayans economic interest as well.
The underlined reasons for this expectation on the part of the British are that: (a) during the colonial period their
interests in this part of the world had always been serviced from their bastions in Malaya and Singapore, in the latter
was housed the office of the British Governor-General logistical consideration; and (b) investments and trade,
import/export of goods and services between Britain and/in the region had mainly conducted in Singapore which had
developed as a regional hub of the British Empires commerce and industry.
An opportunity for Malaya.
On the part of Tunku and the leadership of Malaya, given Malaya had attained its independence on 31st August,
1957, it was a case of a window of golden opportunity not to be missed.
At that point in time, after the bitter experiences of the 2nd World War, and on the wake of United Nations Declaration
on Decolonisation in Resolution 1514 (XV) plus the threat of advancing communism, real or imagined, after it had
taken root in China under Chairman Mao, which had caused much fear and concern to the free world there was
increasing and yet greater impetus to a sense of a need for alignment among nations for security assurances.

Malaysia as a concept was promoted in that environment. Malaya offered itself as a beacon of hope, so it was often
boasted about.
In reality, if it could get what it wanted prospect for manifold gains in the long term would be assured. Indeed Malaya
potentially had a lot to gain in Malaysia. With the Britishs withdrawal as a colonial master the vacuum has to be filled
up. Malaya offered itself to the British to be the vacuums filler.
And the British certainly did not want to just leave. Their business and economic interests were foremost in their
mind. The plan was that in Malaysia their business and economic interests could be secure. And the handling of the
then threats to security posed by the communists could be better managed and focused. The establishment of the
Commonwealth of Nations is just a case in point.
On the other hand the British then felt they owed it to people of Sarawak who had in 1946 objected to cession of the
sovereignty of Sarawak to Britain by 3rd Rajah Sir Charles Vyner Brooke. And they had wanted a self-rule.
Between Malaya and Britain Malaysia would serve a useful purpose and need, albeit respectively divergent, at that
moment of time.
I would not serve my purpose being here today if I do not say this. Malaya through Tunkus vision had already
foresaw a great reward was awaiting. Deep in his mind he did not offer Malaysia as a concept to help Sabah and
Sarawak economically. Neither did he ever care about helping out the British whose empire was crumbling as a result
of the WWII. Instead he envisioned huge profit.
Sarawak had oil at Miri and Lutong during the Brookes Regime time. Although by 1961 when the idea of Greater
Malaysia was mooted oil extractions had halted due to the then technology in use were not yet advanced as today, it
was already known by SHELL that potentials for oil were aplenty in these parts of the Borneo Territories, including
Indeed Brunei, a tiny conclave, did not join Malaysia although invited to do so. It was advised by SHELL officials that
it could survive economically on its oil reserve for a long time into the millennium. And it opted out. Indeed Brunei has
The eventual setting up of PETRONAS in 1975, and in the shape it is, the Tunkus vision is realized.
Malaysia Day 16th September, 1963.
Malaysia had come to be just as was agreed in, and on the terms set out and agreed between Malaya and Britain at
London per the Londons Malaysia Agreement much earlier than Malaysia Day 16th September, 1963.
Resentment, demand for an independence before Malaysia.
And it happened notwithstanding on the local front, the people generally dissented; and in the face of many had
voiced out their feelings against it. There was then a common concern that Malaysia would be a case of Sarawak
leaving one colonial master to join another: from being a Britishs colony to a Malayans colony. Yet there were many
who expressed such reservation about it and had wanted to see Sarawak achieving own independence first.
Sarawak history
My view is that the history of Sarawak is replete with cases of expression of demand to be free. Let me take us back
in time although briefly.
Brookes era.
To better understand their want of independence first, let go back to 1839 the start of the Brooke Regime. It is also
the beginning of Sarawaks modern history.

According to a book by Hugh Low the Chinese in Siniawan had rebelled against the power that be then at the now
Kuching in 1839. They did not want to pay taxes.
James Brooke accompanied by a British ship HMS Dido under Captain Keppel full of Indian soldiers happened to be
in town now known as Kuching (it was then a small riverine settlement) then. He was requested to quell the rebellion.
And he did. With the support of a number of men of Singai, my great forefathers, the rebellion was crushed.
The rebellion was a tame affair actually. When the rebels saw men of Singai were with the Brookes forces they gave
up the fight. The Chinese in Seniawan and Bau and Buso had been friendly with the people of Singai long before that,
been working in the gold mine at Bau for ages before James Brookes arrival. The rebellion ended with little or almost
no bloodshed.
That peaceful outcome pleased the power that be in Kuching. And James Brooke was given to rule over the length
and breadth of the now known as Sungai Sarawak and its hinterland areas.
For the Dayaks of Singai who helped James Brooke to quell the rebellion at Seniawan, and they helped to save him
when his new wooden Astana was burnt, they faded in oblivion after the two incidents.
And it is also mentioned by Hugh Low in his book that a Bidayuh Si-Padungan community had a number of
longhouses at that time at where the present Hilton and Pullman Hotels are situated. This may explain the
wherewithal the men of Singai came from to rescue James Brooke from the burning Astana and swam him across
river to safety.
Sarawak The word "Sarawak" had become known officially as the Brooke Regime told hold over the years. How
Sarawak came to be, and whether the word was there before 1839, i.e before the arrival of James Brooke, I venture
to suggest its anybodys guess. Still many would speculate or postulate that Sarawak was derived from two Malay
words Serah and Awak the giving of the reign of power over to James Brooke aforesaid.
Brookes Regime.
James Brooke only finally established his regime throughout the length and breadth of what is known as Sarawak
today in 1841, that is, after he drove the Brunei forces to until what is Brunei today. A first Council Negeri meeting was
conducted in Miri. That laid down the foundation and the beginning of a self-rule in Sarawak under the Rajah that
spanned a period of 100 years.
James Brooke did not establish his regime as a conqueror of the local populace. Instead it was declared as a case of
his Regime was holding power as trustee for the local people. Independence for this country where the people, the
various races, would rule themselves was the ultimate aim.
A very clear case of the deep concern for the people can best be seen during the reign of 2nd Rajah, Sir Charles
Brooke. But neither time nor space could permit me to dwell too much on it here. I would just say that during the reign
of the 2nd Rajah the system of government took to its refinement.
The people generally felt at home with the system in place. More importantly the people felt they played an important
part of the whole establishment. Peace was maintained. And the government did not interfere too much in the life of
the people: a sort of laisse faire system of government was in place.
2nd World War, 1941 to 1945.
The reign of the Brookes was disrupted by the 2nd World War just when Sarawak had drawn up its first Constitution in
1941 under Charles Vyner Brooke, 3rd Rajah. That WWII saw Sarawak and Sabah, Malaya and Singapore were
conquered and occupied by Japanese Occupation Forces.
After the WWII the 3rd Rajah Charles Vyner Brooke wrote to the British Government and the King of England to cede

sovereignty over the territory of Sarawak to the British. Brookes reign ended.
Anti-Cession Movement.
The ceding of power to the Britishs Crown was generally not acceptable to the local people. Movement of resentment
against it were organised everywhere. Anti-cession movement began. People that had become use to the Brookes
style of government felt betrayed by the turn of events the ceding of power to the British. Those people who could
and did express their feelings said that their independence was taken away off them.
Under Brooke Regimes the peoples felt they had a self-rule, a sort of an independence. They feared the thought of
being ruled by a government in Britain would cause the loss of that independence.
The anti-cession was serious, very serious stuff. Even the new colonial administrators did not anticipate the extent it
had developed into.
The people then turned to Anthony Brooke, then the Rajah Muda, for assistance and help. Apart from the young
Rajah Muda had made it to the news in a London Newspaper, of course he could not do anything else.
For our present purpose his statement as reported then is important.
So I quote it here:
Sarawak is not British and it would be an anachronism if it were reduced from the status of a sovereign independent
State to a Crown colony, declared Anthony Brooke.
The news report continued:
He said he would fight tooth and nail the proposal to make Sarawak s Crown colony before the people were
consulted under their own Constitution.
Brooke was head of the Provisional Government which was dismissed from office last October, without an
explanation. He is a nephew of Sir Charles Vyner Brooke. (news end).
Anti-cession activists demanded Independence.
The anti-cession saw the locals: Malays, and the Dayaks, were united against the transfer of power to the British
Crown. The Malays and Melanaus, particularly in Kuching and Sibu, were openly vocal. As regards the Chinese I will
come to discuss it later.
First, the Malay Union and Dayak Association of Sarawak, had sent a message dated 7/06/1946 to Antony Brooke,
Rajah Muda at 31, Prince Albert Road, Regents Park, N.W.8 which read:
Dayak and Malay communities throughout Sarawak protest against false report regarding cession. We stand
resolute against cession and strongly and wholeheartedly desire Raj of Sarawak must not be ended. We invoke
Atlantic Charter points 2 and 3 to uphold our cause for sake of international justice and integrity. We require your
Highness and your honoured father to intercede to champion for retention of Sarawaks independence intact, if
necessary even to United Nations Organization till success is achieved
Second, a letter signed by Abang Hj. Fadillah and Datu Pattingi Abang Hj. Zaini, then president of Malay National
Union was submitted to the 1st governor (British) Sir Charles Arden Clarke upon his arrival at Kuching. It wrote: (quote
the relevant passage only):
..Rajah Sir Charles Vyner Brooke, however, has sought to cede Sarawak to the British Crown by employing the
1941 Constitution to his own advantage. There was no justice in this act, which constitutes a breach of faith with the

Furthermore, Sir Charles Vyner Brooke had no power whatever to offer cession. The Constitution was never devised
for such a purpose, but was enacted to advance the welfare and progress of the people.
Third, Barisan Permuda Sarawak under its president Zaidi who later became Sarawaks 3rd local Governor, also
rejected cession to the British Crown. And they protested. That protest led to mass resignation of 338 government
employees, mostly Malays, from Sarawaks civil service.
The mass resignation of mostly Malays officers in the Sarawaks civil service caught the British Colonial official off
guard. They did not anticipate it. However to the Colonial Master, the British, it was dawned upon them the people
were serious in their demand for independence.
Sarawak ceded to British.
Despite all the protests that took place Sarawak was ceded to the British on 1st July 1946. A new chapter had
On 1st. July 1947 Sir Charles Vyner Brooke wrote a letter to the people of Sarawak, and he said: (quote the relevant
passage only).
I know that there are still some in Sarawak, encouraged by persons living outside the country, who maintain their
opposition to what has been done (cession). Their cry is that they have lost their independence and wish to recover
it. What in fact is the position? You have transferred your loyalty from the Rajah who was like your father to a greater
father, the King, who has for so long been our Protector. Your feet are firmly set on the road to true independence.
Your local institutions are being developed, your power to express your views on laws and forms of Government is
being increased, and your will gradually approach that goal, already reached by so many peoples who had the
privilege of Britains guidance, where you will be completely self-governing.
Later on 21st May, 1951 the 3rd British Governor of Sarawak, Sir Anthony Abell, at his speech at the opening of
Council Negeri in Kuching, addressed the issue of anti-cession, and said:
Finally, on this point, I think it is worth my while to state what the Prime Minister said in his telegraphic reply to the
former anti-cession associations in Sarawak. The Prime Minister took the opportunity to reaffirm the unqualified
determination of His Majestys Government to guide and assist the people of Sarawak in their progress towards selfgovernment within the Commonwealth..In the future as in the past, it will be freely open to all in Sarawak to
express, in a constitutional manner, their views regarding ways in which progress towards self-government is to be
realized, and any views expressed by bodies substantially representative of the people of Sarawak would receive the
fullest consideration of His Majestys Government. The constitutional form which progress towards self-government in
the British Commonwealth should take could only be settled in the circumstances of the time.
United Nations Declaration on Decolonization.
United Nations Resolution 1514 (XV) was passed on 14 December, 1960. This triggered the acceleration of, and the
mechanism that demanded of the colonial powers to hand back powers to their colonies territories under their
colonial administration were to be granted full independence, went in full gear.
By this UNs Resolution 1514(XV) Britain was under an urgent international obligation to grant Independence to
Singapore, Sarawak, and Sabah especially after Malaya was granted its full independence on 31st. August, 1957.
Against that in the backdrop, lets bring some highlights on the Britishs idea during the period preceding Malaysia:
Britishs desire of Malaysia.

An excerpt from a letter from a British Governor to the Colonial Office in London says: Furthermore we have
obligations to the latter (Borneo Territories), and in the case of Sarawak taken from the Brooke Rajahs and solemnly
repeated in 1956 Constitution. Two of these Cardinal Principles of the Rules of the English Rajahs, run:
1. That Sarawak is the heritage of Our Subjects and is held in trust by Ourselves for them.
2. That the goal of self-government shall always be kept in mind, that the people of Sarawak shall be entrusted in due
course with the governance of themselves, and that continuous effort shall be made to hasten the reaching of tis goal
by educating them in the obligations, the responsibilities, and the privileges of citizenship In a letter sent to Colonial
Office, London, dated 16 September, 1961 from Singapore:
(i). In my letter of August 24, I said that I thought the time had come when it was necessary to consider a crash
programme for Greater Malaysia. I should like first to recapitulate the various reasons why I consider that such a
programme is necessary.
..that I believe that Greater Malaysia should be an important factor for stability in the area and that it would
satisfy long term British and Commonwealth interest.
..that unless Greater Malaysia can be achieved in the near future, the opportunity may be lost for good.,
..if we do not bring the Borneo territories in now ( i.e. by 1963 64) so that the Greater Malaysia plan fails, the
long term alternatives for them would be independence
In a letter sent to Colonial Office by Governor (British) Sir Alexander Waddell dated 3rd November, 1961, he said:
I do urge therefore, that whatever this outcome as regards Singapore, the idea of a Greater Malaysia incorporating
the Borneo territories should be energetically pursued
In a letter from Secretary of State for Colonies to Governor of Sarawak sent 15/9/61:
We believe British interests will be better served by a merger between Singapore (1/g/c) Federation. What we are
trying to save is not Lee Kuan Yew but MERGER. If MERGER IS NOT AGREED IN THE NEAR FUTURE we can be
pretty sure Lee Kuan Yew will fall. If however he can get agreement with H.M.G. and the Tengku on a date for
MERGER he may be able to survive long enough to see MERGER implemented.
A telegram message from British Governor in Jesselton (now Kota Kinabalu) dated 30/03/1962, he wrote:
According to yesterdays Straits Times the Tunku thinks his two speeches in Singapore have cleared the way to
In a telegram from Secretary of State for the colonies on 24/9/61:
Tunkus letter suggests period during which present option of merger remains open may be short although I believe
Tunku is very aware of importance of achieving his objective.
If Lee Kuan Yew is forced to a general election before merger, Barisan Socialist will almost certainly get in with a
clear majority and it is hard to see how merger negotiations could continue. ..
Once merger is achieved the extent of the damage which Barisan Socialis can inflict is so greatly reduced that the
situation need not be unduly disturbing.
Britishs economic interest.
In a Minute from Mr. Sandys to Lord Snowdowne regarding with the Tunku about the transfer of power on

20/07/1962; he said:
Britains own interests are very much identified with the continuance of Malayas prosperity. We estimate our private
capital investment in Malaya as about $400.0 million. This compares for example with $335.0 million for India. Our
export to Malaya are of the order of $60 million per year. We have therefore, a very big financial stake in Malaya.
Tunku did not want independence for Borneo Territories.
Britain listened to Tunku who did not want to grant separate independence to the territories of Singapore, Sabah, and
Sarawak. Tunku did not want a merger.
He wanted the Borneo territories to join those 11 states already in mainland Malaya. Except that he was prepared to
accept the special position of Singapore, a City State.
A letter from Colonial Secretary to the U.K. Commissioner for South East Asia, Singapore dated August 31st 1963, on
a Statement of Facts, paragraph 4. (b)., it said:
that the British Malaysia Act (which comes into force on September 16) provides for the transfer of British sovereignty
over Singapore, Sabah, and Sarawak to the new Federation of Malaysia but does not provide for the separate
independence of these territories.
On his part Tunku was very unhappy at the idea of internal self-government of these territories. He said in a letter to
Britains Prime Minister MacMillian; he said: (quote)
.The Malaysia Agreement, as varied on the question of Malaysia Day with the concurrence of our governments,
provision for Her Majesty to surrender sovereignty and jurisdiction over these territories in accordance with the
constitutional arrangements set out in the Agreement. The granting of internal self-government is not part of the
arrangements and seriously undermine the whole basis upon which these territories were to enter Malaysia.
Apart from its legal and constitutional implication, this step has caused considerable apprehension to my
government which is now faced with a situation in which the State Governments have been given powers in relation
to matters which, if Malaysia is formed, will be federal responsibilities.
While the above quote can be interpreted as his concern over territorial waters and what lies beneath it including oil
and gas, it also mean he was concerned that as independent Borneo Territories the need for setting up embassies
abroad and taking part in the league of nations as equal among equal could only be problematic. Then the two
Borneo Territories were not yet ready.
Still the above quote reflected a major shift in the mind of the Tunku. Maybe he was pushing the issue because 1963
was already agreed in London earlier.
Before the London Agreement in his declaration to Parliament of Malaya on 15/10/1961 Tunku said:
One strong feeling in the Borneo Territories was that they must be consulted. I feel that they have the right to be
consulted on the future of their people and the future of their country. I have said on more than one occasion that
Malaya can only accept Borneo people from an expression of their own free will to join us.
In the same context, ie after the London Agreement on Malaysia, though, Tunku had different words regarding then
SUPPs opposition to Malaysia. He said: In Sarawak recently statements were made by a member of SUPP that the
party did not want a merger with Malaysia, because this would make Sarawak a colony of Malaya, and it was better to
get independence separately first.
Opposition by such people to the concept of Malaysia arises not from any fear or suspicion which they openly
express, but from fear that the Communists would have no more grounds for inciting discontent or creating trouble as

they have tried it here unsuccessfully. You can see therefore that the pattern is the same: the Communists will work in
every way they can to oppose a merger and the concept of Malaysia.
Tunku was apparently referring to reported statement by President of SUPP, Ong Kee Hui (Tan Sri) by a local
Newspaper; where the latter said:
We have all along held the view that Sarawak belongs to Sarawakians and the British Government must hand over
sovereignty of this country to the people of Sarawak.
This was in fact what the British government had pledged to do when it took over Sarawak, and independent country
with its own Rajah.
The proposed Federation of Malaysia which envisages the transfer of sovereignty of this country to Malaysia is a
denial to the people of Sarawak of their right of self-determination and does not give the people true independence,
and therefore we are firmly opposed to it.
We may soon pass away, but our children, and their grandchildren would perhaps ask us to account why at that time
1963 did we make such a decision. I do feel that if we really want to be free , and independent, there is no reason
why we must join with another country which is already independent. It is nothing but an integration of the country
with the Federation of MalayaI say the British government has let us down, and has in fact handed us to Malaya.
Cobbold Commission
The concerns expressed by local people led to Cobbold Commision was set up to determine the wishes of the people
of Borneo Territories to Malaysia. That Commission after only a short period of going down to the ground, and mainly
through official channels, District offices, etc, affirmed the people accepted Malaysia.
Still the people wanted further assurances. Apart from SUPP that was vocal and articulate in the presentation of its
views, new Parties like SNP (SNAP), PANAS, and BERJASA had all wanted a form of reassurances before merger
with Malaya to forming Malaysia.
18/20 points agreements
This led to the 18 points agreement for Sarawak, and 20 points agreement for Sabah were formulated. The peoples of
the two Borneo territories demanded of the British that these 18/20 points agreements were to act as pre-agreement
to, and their terms incorporated in the Malaysia Agreement.
I must pause for a moment here. Sarawak parties, according to the record, did not submit the draft 18 points
agreement to IGC which considered the terms of the Malaysia Agreement. Only Sabah parties did submit their 20
points agreement to IGC. Anyway between the 18 points (Sarawak) and the 20 points (Sabah) there are much
similarities, with few exceptions.
In any event however what the peoples expected above to the dismay of manywere never to be realized. And apart
from the matters of immigration, use of English, freedom of religion, and labour which until today they still do, and
remain with Sarawak, my take is that generally the 18/20 points agreements never did matter seriously to the Tunku
and to all the federal leaders who took over after him.
Malaysia came to be with two major developments:
Sarawak independence was granted on July 22nd. 1963
Malaysia Day on 16th. September, 1963.

Sarawaks independence had preceded the merger with Sabah, Singapore, and Malaya to forming Malaysia. This
step so taken, put to a halt, albeit temporarily, the allegation of selling out to Malaya against the British.
On the other hand although Tunku apparently had lost control over things in that he at first did not want the Borneo
Territories to be independent first before Malaysia, and inasmuch as he did not want a merger with, but both Sarawak
and Sabah obtained their respective independence: Sabah was granted independence on 31st. August, 1963; 16
days earlier than Malaysia Day, however Tunku got what he set out to achieve in the first place. According to the
London Agreement the British Government agreed to surrender the sovereignty of the Borneo Territories to Malaya. It
was not to be a merger.
And Tunku had gotten what he had wanted when he said on 8th July 1961 (2 years before Malaysia): (quote)
When I said Federation with the Borneo Territories, I mean that they should be the same as the other states of
Malaya. We have 11 states that form the Federation of Malaya and if the Borneo Territoriesdecide to come in there
will be 14 all enjoying absolutely equality, one with the other.
Malaysia was a sell-out to Malaya by the British?
Malaysia constitution was based on MalayasConstitution although with modifications,but only slightly, whereby
our head of State was titled Yang diPertuan Negara.
By 1976 there was a change to our Constitution and then the title of office was changed to Yang di Pertua
After, and by the constitutional amendments in 1976 the Nation of Sabah, and Sarawak were respectively reduced to
become the 12th and 13th States of Federation of Malaysia, true to Tunkus wishes he expressed on 8/7/1962
The question is, are we equal at all, or is there any equality?
Ningkans dismissal by Federal declaration of Emergency in 1965.
Ningkan started his party SNP (later became known as SNAP) on a platform seeking full independence of Sarawak
from the British. His call was Sarawak for Sarawakian. And he was Sarawaks First Chief Minister. Incidentally he
was very enthusiastic about Malaysia. He expected more development fund would flow in. In a radio broadcast he
The Malayan Government, the founder of the Malaysia project, is ever willing to help us, and its sincerity will be
proved by pouring in millions of dollars into this country after Malaysia takes shape at the end of August this year.
And I would say he was also the first Chief Minister removed from office by Federal powers in 1965. After been
removed from office by the Governor, and then won his case in High Court in Kuching a State of Emergency was
declared. Thereby Ningkan was out permanently. Tawi Sli was put in charge, although I would say only just. Sarawak
was effectively administered by Kuala Lumpur through the office of a Federal Secretary.
To many this event signalled the end of an Independent Sarawak that had with independent Sabah, and Singapore
merged with independent Malaya as most people had initially wanted/thought to be.
That event also signalled Tunkus expressed wishes aforesaid coming home to roost.
Containment of communists was the underpin.
Communists and the spread of communism were the common bogeyman at that time. Without saying too much here

for want of time, I would say that the common use of the said bogeyman had helped consolidate a federal hold on the
people. That also reduced the spread of sympathy to Ningkan over the treatment meted to him, his dismissal from
office by federal powers.
Tun Rahman Yakub, 3rd Chief Minister. Rahman was with the Federal government during Ningkans dismissal. And
after he was elected to State Assembly in 1969 G.E that was postponed due to the infamous May 13th of 1969 in
Kuala Lumpur to the following year in 1970, Rahman Yakub was appointed Sarawaks 3rd Chief Minster.
Then and only then, and only gradually, did Federal powers gripping Sarawak began to thaw. Most significantly CM
Rahman Yakub, I believe it was with the blessing of Federal government under PM Tun Razak, signed a peace treaty
with Bong Kee Chok, head of the communists that led the insurgency in Sarawak, in 1973, in what is known as Sri
Aman Treaty. The other major player in this was late Stephen Yong, the SUPPs Secretary General, an MP and a
member of State Assembly. It was followed by a Coalition government was formed. Mr. Ong Kee Hui was made a
Federal Minister.
Our land mass reduced to within 3 mile from the shoreline by 1965 Emergency Proclamation.
Following the declaration of emergency by which Ningkan was dismissed from office (the official version behind that
emergencys declaration was to contain communism) there was a major development behind the whole faade. The
States continental shelf which by international convention and law of United Nation is up to 12miles from shoreline
was reduced to 3 miles from shoreline as declared in that emergency proclamation (of course for logistical reasons
This power over Continental Shelf/territorial waters principle with regard to Sarawak, after PM Najib has recently
removed that 1965 Emergency Order (Sarawak) along with the 1969 Order (May 13th.), the territorial waters principle
aforesaid was incorporated in Act750 passed by Parliament recently.
The significance of this development (3 miles limit of land right) is that the remaining 9 miles of land under territorial
waters is under the Federal Governments jurisdiction. What Sabah and Sarawak get of the 5 percent from oil revenue
from PETRONAS is 5 percent of what is derived from within the territory up to and until the 3 miles limit of the sea
from the shoreline. The revenue from the 9 miles of territorial waters goes to Putra Jayas coffer.
And until today there is little or no explanation has been given about the law that limits us to getting only what is
derived from within 3 miles from shoreline aforesaid. Maybe those who walks in the corridor of power might know of it
but by reasons known to them the people are not informed.
After Sri Aman Treaty of 1973, and with that signalled an end to any vestige of communism, the Federal Government
had enacted Akta Petrolium Nasional (PETRONAS) in 1975. Afterwards PM Tun Razak declared the vestment of
powers over oil and gas in Sarawak and Sabah to PETRONAS. Under the Act Sarawak and Sabah are accorded 5
percent of whatever revenue from these resources.
One significant factor here is that there was no resolution approving the conferment of rights to PETRONAS was ever
passed in the State Assembly. However the respective Chief Ministers of Sabah and Sarawak gave their consent to
1976 constitutional amendment
As I have said above, the 1976 constitutional amendment significantly brought final closure to any claim of
independent Sarawak and Sabah in a merger with Malaya forming Malaysia.
The two Borneo Territories have become just another 2 new states with those 11 other pre-existing states of Malaya.
Just as Tunku had wanted it, as I narrated above (repeat below)

When I said Federation with the Borneo Territories, I mean that they should be the same as the other states of
Malaya. We have 11 states that form the Federation of Malaya and if the Borneo Territoriesdecide to come in there
will be 14 all enjoying absolutely equality, one with the other.
Parity of development, or lack of.
Many are questioning the issue of all enjoying absolutely equality, one with the other. Yet many disbelieve that call.
Such disbelief is strengthened by what people are seeing in the vast advancement in term of development in Malaya
compared to the lack of it in Sarawak. For example there is already a talk of an elevated Highway which will cost
multiple of billions of Ringgit to alleviate the acute road congestion in Selangor and PutraJaya. And compare that with
a recent statement of Tan Sri James Masing, Sarawaks Senior Minister, where he lamented the lack of good
communication links to Kapit and beyond during a presentation ceremony of aid by PEKEMA held at Kapit (as
reported in the local issue of Borneo Post). Thus the question why this disparity rages on. And correspondingly the
question why this state of situation is so despite all the initial promises of something good would be forthcoming
through Malaysia increases in volume as time goes by. Likewise the question if joining Malaysia was correct gains
further traction among people.
Legals avenue shut.
Otherwise, however, all avenues to demand for more are pretty shut legally, given what is narrated above.
And definitely I do not think our Malaysian Courts would entertain a case of even asking for a review of the Malaysia
Agreement. Kelantans claim for a share in revenue but oil is derived from offshore beyond the 3 miles limit has been
And going to ICJ would only be possible if such a request comes from the government of a country.
So that possibility is shut.
Suing the British Government for having handed the Borneo Territories as it did might be purely academic. And in this
you may care to look at the Ningkan case (about his dismissal as a Chief Minister in 1965) that went right up to the
Privy Council in London. As well as the Sinyum Mutit case on his termination as a Member of Parliament to the
Constituency of Bau-Lundu (now Mas Gading) based on the issue of his pre-signed letter which was kept by, and
which upon his resigning from his party SUPP, was tendered to the Speaker which case also went to the Privy
My take on both cases the issue of fait accompli was the rule by which both cases were dismissed.
In this context may I quote what late Tun Jugah told us at his then official residence as Federal Minister for Sarawak
Affairs at Crookshank Road (opposite the present Sarawak general Hospital), sometime in 1965 before Ningkans
dismissal; In Iban Language in answer to a question would Malaysia last?, he said:
Tu baka paku rawang pasok ba pala tiang rumah, agi lama agi tegal, tussah ka cabut enti nak pala tiang rumah nya
pecah baru ka (meaning liken it to a piece of iron nail which when already sunk into the head beam connecting to
the main pillars of a house will be difficult to pull out unless the beam and the main pillars are broken down.)
This above is a statement coming from the only person from the Dayak Community who together with 3 local Malay
local dignitaries signed the Malaysia Agreement on behalf of Sarawak and its people. I was there in his official
residence at that particular evening when he said that.
The above late Apai Jugahs statement must also be looked at through the prism of limitation.
Political Avenue.

I would suggest that the only avenue for us to demand maybe an upgrade in revenue from oil and gases, and for
other concessions, particularly more development fund to develop our states still poor infrastructural facilities, for
example, just maybe, can be through politics. I would hasten to add however that this need a concerted effort of
everybody, and every political groupings, for anything to be realized.
Although I must still add that our demands for more fund, and especially for bigger share from the revenues derived
from oil and gas, are only proper and legal because of our right to these resources by virtue of they are resources
taken from our own land refer to State List in the Federal Constitution, and as well as those incidents of preMalaysia, and after endorsement of Malaysia Agreement 1963 was put to in bold ink, as narrated above.
BNs fixed deposit.
The recent 2 general elections of 2008 and 2013 are cases for optimism. Without the support of people in Sabah and
Sarawak the Federal Government would probably be in different hand. The parliamentary seats won by BN in Sabah
and Sarawak made the day for Federal BN holding power in PutraJaya. Hence PM Najib coined a new term fixed
deposit for this new development. A hitherto banking terminology has become a political term. While the term aptly
describes this new development i.e BNs hold at PutraJaya could not do without support garnered from Sabah and
Sarawak, it has brought in a new political dynamism to the power equation as seen in a result of, and brought about
by the recent two (2) Malaysias Elections GE12 and GE13.
I believe this new trend, although fixed deposit it has had been called by, is worrying to the current power that be at
PUTRAJAYA. More so with the often stated invincibility on the part of some if not all of Federal leaders.
Window of opportunity
And I believe this new political dynamism offers a window of opportunity for the people of Sarawak and Sabah: at
least to bargain for more development funds and other concessions, not to mention for a bigger share in and control
over oil and gas exploitation, extraction, and their revenue.
PM Najib did mention of 20 % of revenue
Already PM Najib did mention about the possibility of increasing our share of revenue to 20 percent. It was reported in
the local papers pre-GE13 period.
Although not yet been put into effect a mention of it by our PM Najib as such does show the deep concern over the
possibility of power shift at PUTRAJAYA. Hence the concern to maintain at least a status quo, if not better, the issue of
fixed deposit foresaid has come to the fore.
And I also believe that the 1976 constitutional amendment is not correct and as well as Act750 which took after the
1965 Emergency Order was removed over our territorial waters right that has been reduced to 3 miles from shoreline
is not consistent to the peoples earlier (before Malaysia)) aspiration. And given Sarawak and Sabah were
independent first, on the demand of the peoples of both Borneo Territories, before merger with Malaya and Singapore
under Malaysia that came to be by 16.09.1963 we should be accorded shares in oil revenue from oil sourced within
12 miles from shoreline which is our territorial waters. I believe the fixed deposit can leverage for that.
The window of opportunity could be fully exploited only by cooperation of all in Sarawak. In this I see the two recent
developments in States leadership which I mentioned at the start of this talk are encouraging.
Toward this purpose of getting what are ours by our birth right, being born as Sarawakians, I foresee a greater
political cohesion among local parties as the way forward may ultimately lead us there. Maybe this effort will take
many years down the road. However I am positive given the recent apparent change is in the air aforesaid we are in a
new dawn of awareness.

Thank you.
Dated 27th April, 2014. .
[Disclaimer: The above text titled Malaysia Agreement 1963 (E&O Excepted) is solely for use at the Forum held on
the 27th April, 2014 at HOTEL GRAND CONTINENTAL, KUCHING, organised by Sarawak Association for Peoples
Aspiration (SAPA). No reference to it outside this context is allowed without written consent of the writer, Patrick Anek
Uren, whose address is at M/s: Anek Uren & Partners Advocates & Solicitors, DE202 First Floor, MJC Batu Kawa,
93250 Kuching, Sarawak.]