Friday, 25 September 2015

Harris: M’sia Agreement 1963 not ‘legally’ binding

Putrajaya should tell the truth and not jump every time the Opposition says Bang! Bang! with an imaginary pistol.

KOTA KINABALU: Former Sabah Chief Minister Harris Salleh, responding to recent statements by several experts, feels compelled to address the basis on which Sabah and Sarawak came together with Malaya and Singapore in a Federation in 1963.

“It’s high time that the Federal Government told the people of Sabah the truth,” said Harris who was Chief Minister from 1976 to 1985. “The 20 Points (18 Points in Sarawak), Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), the Inter Governmental Committee Report (IGC) and Batu Sumpah (Oath Stone) are all not legally binding.”

The contents of these documents, he added, have been incorporated in the Federal Constitution and the state constitutions. “It’s high time to speak the truth.”

“If the Federal Government does not speak to the people straight and honestly, the Opposition will continue to claim that it has been in breach of these documents. They would continue to claim that Putrajaya has been in non-compliance on MA63.”

He was commenting on de facto Law Minister Nancy Shukri saying that both MA63 and the IGC Report were still valid. “She’s also falling into the Opposition’s trap.”

“I was surprised to read her statement that both documents were still legally binding.”

DAP leaders in Sabah, he continued, are also harping on Batu Sumpah.

Harris lamented that the Federal Government was on the defensive in Sabah and Sarawak on the issue of Borneo rights. “The Opposition’s weapons in the two Borneo states are nothing but imaginary ones and Putrajaya has fallen into their trap.”

“The Federal Government should not get carried away and jump every time the Opposition draw their imaginary pistols and say Bang! Bang!”

The former Chief Minister conceded that the Opposition was capitalising on good issues, “but to promote ignorance in the rural areas”, and argued that he felt duty-bound to stress that the Federal Constitution was the Supreme Law of the Land. “We don’t have to refer to these other documents,” he said. “For example, if we want to import belacan from Brunei into the state, do we have to refer to the 20 Points?”

“It’s crystal clear that Parliament is sovereign and not any other document or body championed by the Opposition.”

Harris appeared to gloss over the fact that the 20 Points was not about imports or related issues but sets out, together with other constitutional documents and the Federal Constitution and state constitutions, the relationships, the nature of relationships, and the governing institutions of state.

Nancy, in her statement, said that she wanted to see evidence on non-compliance before taking up the matter with the Federal Government. She added that she was entrusted with the task which comes under her portfolio. “This matter should be brought to the attention of Parliament rather than the Court.”



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