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Sabah BN leaders clash over 20-point pact

By Raymond Tombung
KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Legislative Assembly Speaker Salleh Said Keruak is in hot water for claiming that the 20-point Malaysia Agreement “doesn’t exist anymore”.
In what many see as an amusing development, two Barisan Nasional leaders are now fighting over the issue of 20-point Malaysia Agreement.
Last Sunday, Salleh had reportedly dismissed the 20-point Malaysia Agreement, saying it was no longer valid.
He stirred an old hornets’ nest over Sabah’s rights, sparking reactions from both BN leaders as well as Sabah STAR (State Reform Party).
Salleh had said that the 20-point agreement was no longer valid because it is already part of the Malaysian Constitution.
He added that the issue was being flogged by the opposition through online platforms “when in fact the agreement doesn’t exist anymore”.
The comment has angered BN native leaders and Sabahans in general.
In an immediate reaction, Kota Marudu MP and Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Maximus Ongkili slammed Salleh, saying that the 20-point Malaysia Agreement is “forever valid”.
Ongkili said the contents and spirit of the Malaysia Agreement document on Sabah’s safeguards for the formation of Malaysia are relevant by virtue of them being incorporated in the Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) report and the Federal Constitution.
“The 20 points made in memorandum by seven political parties in 1962 and submitted to the IGC were not an official government document but purely a political memorandum.
“However, what became official were the deliberations and adoption of the points by the IGC and their eventual incorporation into the Malaysia Agreement and the Federal Constitution,” he said at the Pesta Kaamatan celebration in Kampung Timbang Batu, Kota Marudu.
He pointed out that only “those provisions pertaining to finance, language, religion and education have been willingly surrendered by previous government leaders of Sabah to the federal government”.
‘Documents exist’
Meanwhile, STAR Sabah chairman Jeffrey Kitingan has also reacted strongly over Salleh’s statement.
Since the mid-1980s, Jeffrey has been in the frontline pushing hard for the “re-instatement’of the 20 points and demanding that the federal government adhere to the terms of the documents.
He said leaders should remember that there are four important constitutional documents and/or convention, namely the 1963 Malaysia Agreement , the 20-18 Points, the IGC Report and the Cobbold Commission Report.
“Whether or not the contents of the four constitutional documents and/or conventions have been incorporated into the Federal Constitution, the documents/conventions continue to exist,” Jeffrey said.
He added that “incorporation” cannot do away with the four documents/conventions and advised those genuinely interested in the issue to research and study the development of the “unwritten” British Constitution.
“These are historical, political and constitutional documents which supplement/complement the Constitution and must be read together with it.
“Half truths distort the true picture and do a grave disservice and injustice to our people,” he said.
Meanwhile, Angkatan Amanah Merdeka (Amanah) Keningau criticised Salleh for his stance on the 20 points.
Amanah Keningau chairman, Peter Kadau, said Salleh “sounded like he is a weak and selfish leader who is irresponsible about Sabahan rights”.
“He even sounds like a traitor to the people. Salleh has no right to determine that the 20 points are invalid; it is the people who have the right to determine,” he said.
Kadau referred to the Oath Stone in Keningau which he said stands as a lasting monument to the spirit of the 20 points.

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