Wealth transfer reason for Sabah’s, and Sarawak’s, grinding poverty


Wealth transfer reason for Sabah’s, and Sarawak’s, grinding poverty

The way forward would be for Sabah and Sarawak to Invoke Article VIII of MA63

Joe Fernandez

COMMENT . . . The above article, based on the proverbial three monkeys and/or the “ostrich with its head buried in the sand” approach, is an apology of sorts for the establishment.

It’s tantamount to pointing the finger at us while four fingers are pointed at the establishment.

Economics is a social science which studies human behaviour in the endless battle between unlimited wants and scarce resources which have alternative uses.

Look up the following terms: macroeconomics, microeconomics, economies of scale internal and external, scale of preferences, and opportunity cost.

The grinding poverty of Sabah, the poorest state in Sabah, has been caused firstly by British colonialism, and subsequently by the transfer of administrative power in the Borneo states to the Malayan gov’t.

Under international law, colonialism has been outlawed. It has been defined in law as a criminal enterprise to accumulate capital.

Wealth continues to be transferred corruptly from those who have no power — the Borneo states — to those who have power i.e. Malaya and the Federal gov’t by internal colonisation.

First things first.

Sabahans, and Sarawakians, need to get their politics and relationships right.

All politics are about restructuring the distribution of power and restructuring the distribution of revenue and resources.

We have yet to see this happen.

The way forward would be for Sabah and Sarawak to Invoke Article VIII of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) for a new form of self-determination. Malaysia Day, 16 Sept 1963, was a form of self-determination which quickly degenerated into internal colonisation.

In the case of South Sudan, the UN Security Council found the territory had been internally colonised by Sudan. The UN pushed for self-determination, Referendum and independence in South Sudan.

Before GE14, then Prime Minister Najib offered to delegate greater administrative powers. Malaysia Day, 31 Aug 1957, was the transfer of the Administration of Sabah and Sarawak by the British colonialists to the Malayan gov’t.

Post-GE14, Putrajaya should have followed up on Najib’s offer. Instead, it formed the Committee on MA63.

Between now and Invoking Article VIII, Sabah and Sarawak should push for the return of local gov’t elections and taxes to be levied only at the local level since most development is not national or at the state level.

The Federal gov’t should stop collecting taxes in Borneo. The local gov’t can pass a share of the taxes to the state gov’ts and Federal gov’t.

After over 50 years of Federal gov’t non-compliance on MA63, the committee discussions are too little, too late.

It’s obvious the Committee discussions on MA63 probably realised the Federal gov’t was party to illegalities — read non-compliance — in Sabah and Sarawak.

So, it’s not surprising the discussions were placed under the Official Secrets Act (OSA).

This is like placing discussions on the Federal Constitution under the OSA.

It just won’t hold water. The INTENTION of Parliament on OSA was not to allow the Act to be used to cover up illegalities.

Sikit sikit, OSA!

The longrunning speculation that MA63 was not valid, purportedly given Singapore’s exit in 1965, is just Opinion. It’s not law. Only the court can declare law. The MA63 remains valid as long as the court does not rule otherwise. In fact, no court will rule the MA63 invalid.

If a court rules the MA63 invalid, Malaysia would fall apart. There would be no basis for Sabah and Sarawak to be with Malaya.

It was not so long that the Federal court declared case law on MA63 by citing the Federal Constitution. It said that MA63 was not law and that only what has been incorporated in the Federal Constitution, from the Document, was law.

No one will say MA63 was law just as the Federal Constitution was not law.

MA63, being the ultimate political document for Sabah and Sarawak, has force of law. Likewise, the Federal Constitution has force of law, being the ultimate political document for the Federation.

Sabah and Sarawak are in fact governed by an unwritten/uncodified — i.e. not in one place — Constitution, the Malaysia Constitution based on the constitutional documents on Malaysia.

The declassified documents on Malaysia, released by the Colonial Office in London and/or the UK gov’t, are official history which backs up the Malaysia Constitution.

FOOTNOTE: The above Article was emailed to the Daily Express. So far, it has not been published. I have the right of reply and the right to comment on an Article which appeared in the Daily Express.

Joe Fernandez, a longtime Borneo watcher, can be found blogging these days at FernzTheGreat.

He prefers to focus, at the risk of repetition, on a small number of issues which touch on law, human rights and the English language.

Read further here . . .


As a founder member of the IDS Advisory Council, I have noticed the Sabah gov’t is not lacking in policy initiatives.

The issue is funding.

Bising sikit, dapat sikit. That too in bits and pieces.

Sometimes, the Federal gov’t behaves like an Ah Long. It’s only willing to lend money to the Sabah gov’t.

This is like adding insult to injury after the Federal gov’t takes away 95 per cent of revenue in Sabah and controls the resources.


Historical documents, including declassified documents, can support the unwritten/uncodified Malaysia Constitution.

Author: fernzthegreat

Joe Fernandez holds a honours degree in management, majoring in economics, and has opted from academia in law to being a jurist. He was trained professionally on the job as a journalist. He's a longtime Borneo watcher, keen on the history and legal aspects of Malaya's presence in Sabah and Sarawak. He teaches the English language privately and has emerged as a subject matter expert in public examination techniques.

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