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Jeffrey alleges Federal Govt deviating from the 20 Points
Published on: Friday, January 16, 1987

DAILY EXPRESS (January 16, 1987) - KOTA KINABALU, Thurs. — Sabah Institute of Development Studies (IDS) Chairman Dr Jeffrey Kitingan’s allegation early this month that the Federal government had deviated from or had not complied with the 20-point agreement under which Sabah joined Malaysia has aroused the interest of various quarters on the contents of the agreement.

The Federal government and political parties had asked for the allegation to be substantiated and Dr Kitingan said he would do so in the form of a memorandum to Kuala Lumpur. 

Dr Kitingan, who is also Sabah Foundation Director, claimed that the Federal government’s failure to observe the agreement had been a source of unhappiness in Sabah. The agreement was made when Malaysia, comprising Malaya, Sarawak, North Borneo and Singapore (which left the Federation in 1965) was formed in September 1963 after the three states gained their independence on Aug 31 1963. 

Bernama obtained a copy of the Report of the Inter-Governmental Committee, 1962 from the State Library here which outlined 37 recommendations for North Borneo to join the Federation of Malaysia. 

The committee, comprising representatives of the then British, Malayan, Sarawak and North Borneo governments, was formed in August 1962. It was chaired by the then British Minister of State for Colonial Affairs, Lord Lansdowne, with former Malaysian Prime Minister the late Tun Abdul Razak as deputy chairman. 

The task of the committee was to work out the future constitutional arrangements, including safeguards for the special interests of North Borneo and Sarawak to cover such matters as religious freedom, education, representation in the Federal Parliament, the position of the indigenous races, control of immigration, citizenship .and the State Constitution. 

The 37 recommendations by the committee were adopted . into the Federation of Malaysia Agreement 1963 and summarised into what was known as “The 20-Point Agreement.” 

According to the Colony of North Borneo Annual Report 1962, the 20 points are: 

1. RELIGION: While there was no objection to Islam being the national religion of Malaysia, there should be no State religion in North Borneo and the provisions relating to Islam in the present constitution of Malaya should not apply to North Borneo. 

2. LANGUAGE: 

(a) Malay should be the national language of the Federation, 

(b) English should continue to be used for a period of 10 years after Malaysia Day, 

(c) English should be the official language of North Borneo for all purposes, State or Federal, without limitation of time. 

3. CONSTITUTION: Whilst accepting that the present constitution of the Federation of Malaya should form the basis of the Constitution of Malaysia, the Constitution of Malaysia should be a completely new document drafted and agreed in the light of a free association of state, and should not be a series of amendments to a constitution drafted and agree by different states in totally different circumstances. A new constitution for North Borneo was, of course, essential. 

4. HEAD of the Federation: The Head of State in North Borneo should not he eligible for election as Head of the Federation. 

5. NAME of Federation: “Malaysia” but not “Melayu Rayat.” 

6. IMMIGRATION: Control over immigration into any part of Malaysia from outside should rest with the Central Government but entry into North Borneo should also require the approval of the State government. The Federal government should not be able to veto the entry of persons into North Borneo for State government purposes except on strictly security grounds. North Borneo should have unfettered control over the movement of persons, other than those in Federal government employ, from other parts of Malaysia into North Federal government employ, from other parts of Malaysia into North Borneo. 

7. RIGHT of Secession: There should be no right to secede from the Federation. 

8. BORNEONISATION of the public services should proceed as quickly as possible. 

9. BRITISH Officers: Every effort should he made to encourage British officers to remain in the public services until their places can be taken by suitably qualified people from North Borneo. 

10. CITIZENSHIP: The recommendations in paragraph 148 (k) of the Report of the Cobbold Commission should govern the citizenship rights in the Federation of North Borneo persons subject to the following amendments: 

(a) Subparagraph (1) should not contain the proviso as to five years residence, 

(b) In order to tie up’ with our law, subparagraph (II) (a) should read “seven out of ten years” instead of “eight out of twelve years”; 

(c) Subparagraph ( Ill) should not contain any restriction tied to the citizenship of parents — a person born in North Borneo after Malaysia must be a Federal citizen. 

11. TARIFFS and Finance: North Borneo should have control of its own finance, development funds and tariffs, 

12. SPECIAL Position of Indigenous races: In principle, the indigenous races of North Borneo should enjoy special rights analogous to those enjoyed by Malays in Malaya, but the present Malaya formula in this regard is not necessarily applicable in North Borneo. 

13. STATE government: 

a) The Chief Minister, should be elected by unofficial members of Legislative Council; 

b) There should be a proper Ministerial system in North Borneo. 

14. TRANSITIONAL Period: This should be seven years during such period legislative power must be left with the State of North Borneo by the Constitution and not be merely delegated to the State government by the Federal government. 

15. EDUCATION: The existing educational system of North Borneo should be maintained and for this reason it should be under State control. 

16. CONSTITUTIONAL Safeguards: No amendment, modification or withdrawal of any special safeguards granted to North Borneo should’ be made by the Central government without positive concurrence of the government of the State of North Borneo. The power of amending the Constitution of the State of North Borneo should belong exclusively to the people in the State. 

17. REPRESENTATION in Federal Parliament: This should take account not only of the population of North Borneo but also of its size and potentialities and in any case should not be less than that of Singapore. 

18. NAME of Head of State: Yang di-Pertua Negara. 

19. NAME of State: Sabah. 

20. LANDS, Forest, Local Government etc: The provisions in the Constitution of the Federation in respect of the powers of the National land Council should not apply in North Borneo. 

Likewise the National Council for Local Government should not apply in North Borneo. – Bernama. 

 





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