between Malaya and Borneon states. Without Borneo, there is no
It is very clear that the objective of Malaysia had not been achieved.
The main reason is that, all along Malaysia had been interpreted as
just a renamed Malaya, contrary to all written documents and
But then, what do you expect from a Janji Melayu.
By Luke Rintod
KOTA KINABALU: The Malaysia Project envisaged by the former premier
Tunku Abdul Rahman and Borneo leaders, Donald Stephens and Temenggong
Jugah 47 years ago is a failure, according to a wide spectrum of the
In a series of papers submitted at a one-day forum on the 'Formation
of Malaysia Revisited and The Way Forward', presenters concluded that
what had been conceived by the trio and what eventually transpired in
the intervening years was similar to a pendulum swing.
All the five papers presented and deliberated at Saturday's landmark
forum to discuss the birth of the Federation of Malaysia and the
effects on Sabah and Sarawak 40 years after noted how state rights had
taken a backseat to political convenience.
Kanul Gindol, secretary-general of CigMa, said the forum managed to
achieve an intellectual discussion of the pros and cons of the
formation of Malaysia.
"It was lively (discussion) and managed to attract people from all
walks of life including past and present public figures like Ayub
Aman, an elder brother of Sabah Chief Minister, Amirkahar Tun
Mustapha, PKR leaders like Christina Liew and Baru Bian, retired civil
servants, academicians, lawyers, teachers, politicians, students and
laymen," he said.
Kitingan, the younger brother of Sabah deputy Chief Minister Joseph
Pairin Kitingan, in his paper highlighted facts and 'secrets', notably
how the federal powers had subdued the state through many manoeuvres
since 1963, and how Sabah leaders were duped into believing in
whatever Peninsular Malaysian leaders pledged and promised them.
Using figures, he demonstrated how the Kadazandusuns, who were once
the majority and dominant in North Borneo/Sabah were being
He spoke about the emergence of a new group called Melayu in Sabah
which today stands at more than 300,000 but was only 18,000 in 1970's.
Split Sabah into five state
The Harvard graduate also cited how Malayan subsequent leaders managed
to tilt the equation of power to the peninsula ever since the
inception of the federation in 1963.
"In 1963, we had a 50-50 equation in Parliament representation vis-a-
vis the 11-states in Malaya and the group of Sabah, Sarawak and
"When Singapore left or was kicked-out of the federation in 1965,
their 15 seats should have been distributed to Sabah and Sarawak but
what happen was Malaya took seven seats and the remaining eight were
distributed to the Borneo states.
"Then in 1972/73, 73 new Parliament constituencies were created, and
all of them were in Malaya. From here on, Sabah and Sarawak lost its
power to block any passing of laws in Parliament, so peninsular
leaders can do whatever they want to the federation," he said.
Kitingan, a PKR vice president, in his paper proposed that Sabah be
split into five states and Sarawak into seven and that Parliament
representation in the Borneo states should be balanced with that in
He noted that the Cobbold Commission Report had forewarned that: "If
the idea of Malaysia was a 'take over' of Sabah and Sarawak and the
submersion of the individualities of Sabah/Sarawak, Malaysia would not
be acceptable or successful."
Scepticism of sincerity
Veteran Malaysian leader and founding father of the Sarawak National
Party or SNAP, James Wong, whose paper was presented by lawyer and the
Sarawak PKR Head Baru Bian, said that selling the idea of Malaysia had
not been easy.
He revealed the prevailing scepticism of sincerity during the period
and these were typified by Temenggong Jugah when he said in Iban:
"Anang Malaysia sebaka tebu, manis di pohon, tawal diujung" which
literally means 'Malaysia should not be like the sugar cane, sweet at
the head and getting less and less sweet towards the end'.
It was a conjecture that proved true as Sabah and Sarawak now sit at
the bottom list of many progress indices in Malaysia, he said.
Wong pointed out that initially in the 1950s there was already an
effort to federate North Borneo, Sarawak and Brunei but North Borneo
leaders then were reluctant because Sarawak had communist threats
unlike North Borneo.
In the soon to follow Cobbold Commission Report, the merger concept of
the Federation of Malaysia detailed that the central government would
be strong and provide security but local aspirations and needs would
also have to be recognised and safeguarded.
The report clearly states that: "It is a necessary condition that,
from the outset, Malaysia should be regarded by all concerned, as an
association of partners, combined in the common interest to create a
new nation but retaining their own individualities," Wong pointed out.
Karim Ghani, who was instrumental in bringing in Umno to Sabah, in his
paper reminded that Sabahans can no longer count on taking control of
their state without the aid of the hundreds of thousands of immigrants
who reside there.
Shouts of tipu
However the discussion became more heated when Ayub Aman, the elder
brother of Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman claimed that all Malaysians
were treated equally in response to John Brian of the Sarawak Dayak
National Union (SDNU) who complained of marginalisation in
The ageing former Culture, Youth and Sports Minister during Berjaya
party era was visibly shocked and appeared to be in a daze after his
remarks were met with boos and shouts of "tipu" and "no same treatment
to Kadazandusuns and Dayaks".
Ayub also blamed complaints of rampant corruption in Sabah politics as
the outcome of a corrupt rakyat.
SLA's S Venugopal also presented a paper detailing breaches in the
political equation and merger partnership.
The one-day forum was jointly organised by two KK-based NGOs - the
Borneo Heritage Foundation (BHF) and CigMa or Common Interest Group