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Tuesday, October 26, 2021

MA63: Unstoppable Ripple for 11 Years

MA63: Unstoppable Ripple for 11 Years

Back on 31 October 2010, Datuk Seri Panglima Yong Teck Lee, Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) president, raised the issue of Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) during the Batu Sapi by-election in Sandakan.

His move had raised the public awareness that ‘Sabahans can legally pursue autonomous rights, as a sovereign state in Malaysia Federation’, on top of the 20-point memorandum which was the proposed terms prior to the formation of the federation.

The struggle for MA63 continued and further outreached during Malaysia’s 13th General Election (GE13) in 2013, as it is one of the most important parts of SAPP’s election manifesto.

After the GE13, SAPP Youth Wing went all out to campaign for MA63 issue, and many non-governmental organisations (NGOs) picked up and discussed and spread it like raging fire throughout Sabah and even to Sarawak and the Peninsular states. 

Various talks, forums and movements organised by NGOs include Solidarity Rakyat Sabah (SORAK), Black Sunday, Borneo Tea Party, United Borneo Front (UBF), Borneo Heritage Front, Pertubuhan Pendidikan Rakyat Sabah (PIPA), Solidariti Belia Sabah, Mosik, North Borneo Friendship Movement, SSU-UK, to name a few, had helped more Sabahans and Malaysians understand clearer about our own history.

On 7 March 2015, the then-Foreign Minister initiated and was the moderator of a forum on the topic “Forum Pembentukan Malaysia” at University Malaysia Sabah (UMS). Datuk Yong Teck Lee was one of the panelists, together with Datuk Jeffrey Kitingan, late Zainal Ajamain, Tan Sri Majid Khan (former Political Secretary to the late Tun Fuad Stephens), Prof Madya Dr. Bilcher Bala, Dr. Zaini Osman, Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, Prof Madya Dr Faridah Jalil, Lahirul Latigu among others.

The forum discussed not only the agreement (MA63) itself, but also touched on the Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) report, Borneonisation, Sabah Self-Government Day (31 August 1963), Malaysia Day (16 September 1963), Federal Constitution, Sabah autonomy, religious, finance, education and related topic.

During the GE14 in 2018, all political parties, either incumbents or oppositions, had made MA63 as a key point in their respective manifesto.

The MA63-ripple started by Yong Teck Lee some 11 years ago, has now become Malaysia’s political mainstream.

In March 2020, a new ministry that held the Sabah and Sarawak Affair portfolio was created under the Perikatan Nasional (PN) -led Federal Government, and the portfolio continued even after the supreme leader changed to Barisan Nasional. Next week (26 October 2021), a bill on MA63 will be tabled in the parliament according to Wan Junaidi, Minister of Law.

Kota Kinabalu
26th October, 2021

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