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Group takes Malaysia Agreement to court
Published on: Thursday, September 14, 2017

Kota Kinabalu: Five members of opposition Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (Star) have filed a suit seeking to declare that the Malaysian Government committed a breach of the Malaysia Agreement when it failed to restrain Singapore leaving the federation two years later in 1965.

The first, second, third, fourth and fifth plaintiff, Lucy Liskin Batak, 59, Jeffrey Kumin @ John, 49, Homer D Lubaton, 63, Alfred Raphael, 25, and Marcel Jude A/L MS Joseph, 56, respectively, are also seeking a declaration that the Malaysia Agreement is valid and lawful notwithstanding that the Republic of Singapore seceded from the Federation of Malaysia without the consent and approval of the State of Sabah and the State of Sarawak.

The first plaintiff is the Star Wanita vice chief as well as a Supreme Council member of a political association known as Gabungan Wanita, the second plaintiff is Star State vice chairman cum Information Chief as well as Chairman of Star Inanam, while the third, fourth and fifth Plaintiff are members of Star.

In the same suit, they also sought an injunction against Chairman of Gerakan Akar Umbi Umno Malaysia or Gaum and the Chairman of  Pakatan NGO Pro-BN, Datuk Zulkarnain Mahdar to restrain him from making statements whether public or otherwise "to intimidate, suppress, threaten the freedom of expression and the right of freedom of speech granted to Malaysian citizens and the citizens of Sabah and guaranteed by Article 10 of the Federal Constitution."

They claimed that Zulkarnain, who was named the first defendant, had made unlawful and unconstitutional remarks in a Daily Express report dated Sept 12, 2017 titled "Go To Court, If Unhappy Over M'sia Pact".

In their statement of claim, the plaintiffs said Zulkarnain's statement interfered with the freedom of Malaysian citizens and the citizens of Sabah to exercise the right to freedom of speech and the freedom of expression guaranteed by the Federal Constitution under Article 10.

By making such statements that the agreement can only be questioned in a court of law the first Defendant was stifling and limiting the current interest of the general public and social media on the currently trending topic of the Malaysia Agreement 1963.

It also impliedly that the open discussion of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 other than in a court of law is clearly a veiled threat to Malaysians and Sabahans in general that they will face penalties and prosecution under the law, they said.

Nevertheless, they said the "unlawful statements of the first Defendant originate from the recent public debates and discussions over the past few years on  the origins and existence of the Malaysia Agreement 1963."

They said when Singapore left the Malaysian Federation in 1965, the issue arose and continued to persist as to what had happened to the Malaysia Agreement signed by all parties in 1963.

The absence of Singapore has directly resulted in the constitutional treaty, which included the constitutions of Sabah and Sarawak in the Federation of Malaysia, being rendered invalid.

There is doubt as to whether the Malaysia Agreement is either valid or legal because of the departure of Singapore which was one of the signatories to the agreement, which led to the origin of the federation itself.  

They said neither the Malaysia Agreement nor the Federal Constitution provides for the removal of any partner in the Federation of Malaysia.

Through the Malaysia Agreement, each state that signed the agreement are assumed as a partner who have the same rights.  They have formed Malaysia with Malaya, Singapore, Sabah and Sarawak.

Based on the concept of one vote per partner because the four signatory states have signed the Malaysia Agreement as private partners and independent of other members (spouse-free), it is appropriate that each signatory has the same ballot (that is, one vote per state) to determine whether a sovereign state (Singapore) should be removed from the Federation of Malaysia.

In this case, each state of Malaya should not have rights or power to determine the destiny (expulsion) of Singapore from the Federation of Malaysia.

This is because they are only entitled to one vote only as determined by the Federation of Malaysia.

Sabah and Sarawak also have one vote each.  This view is consistent with their status as Malaysia's free and private partners to the agreement.  

Thus, the decision to remove Singapore from the Federation of Malaysia should be made by the three signatories to the agreement.

They named the Government of Malaysia as the second defendant, the Sabah and Sarawak governments as the third and fourth defendant.

The plaintiffs filed the writ of summons on Wednesday through Messrs Nurul Rafeeqa Marcel Advocates. - Jo Ann Mool

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