20 Points agreement:
The 20 points North Borneo (Sabah) leaders agreed upon to safeguard our rights before joining Malaya, Singapore and Sarawak to form Malaysia @ 16th September 1963.
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 – Malay should be the national language of the Federation. English should continue to be used for a period of 10 years after Malaysia Day. English should be an 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 states and should not be a series of amendments to a Constitution drafted and agreed by different states in totally different circumstances. A new Constitution for North Borneo (Sabah) was of course essential.
4. HEAD OF FEDERATION – The Head of State in North Borneo should not be eligible for election as Head of the Federation.
5. NAME OF FEDERATION – “Malaysia” but not “Melayu Raya”
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 movements of persons other than those in Federal Government employ from other parts of Malaysia into North Borneo.
7. RIGHT OF SECCESION – There should be no right to secede from the Federation.
8. BORNEONISATION – Borneanisation of the public service should proceed as quickly as possible.
9. BRITISH OFFICERS – Every effort should be made to encourage British Officers to remain in the public service until their places can be taken by suitably qualified people from North Borneo.
10. CITIZENSHIP – The recommendation in paragraph 148(k) of the Report of the Cobbold Commission should govern the citizenship rights in the Federation of North Borneo subject to the following amendments:
a) sub-paragraph (i) should not contain the proviso as to five years residence
b) in order to tie up with our law, sub-paragraph (ii)(a) should read “7 out of 10 years” instead of “8 out of 10 years”
c) sub-paragraph (iii) should not contain any restriction tied to the citizenship of parents – a person born in North Borneo after Malaysia must be federal citizen.
11. TARIFFS AND FINANCE – North Borneo should retain control of its own finance, development and tariff, and should have the right to work up its own taxation and to raise loans on its own credit.
12. SPECIAL POSITION OF INDIGINEOUS RACES – In principle, the indigenous races of North Borneo should enjoy special rights analogous to those enjoyed by Malays in Malaya, but the present Malays’ formula in this regard is not necessarily applicable in North Borneo.
13. STATE GOVERNMENT – The Prime Minister should be elected by unofficial members of Legislative Council. There should be a proper Ministerial system in North Borneo.
14. TRANSITIONAL PERIOD – This should be seven years and 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 safeguard granted to North Borneo should be made by the Central Government without the 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. (Note: The United Party, The Democratic Party and the Pasok Momogun Party considered that a three-fourth majority would be required in order to effect any amendment to the Federal and State Constitutions whereas the UNKO and USNO considered a two-thirds majority would be sufficient)
17. REPRESENTATION IN FEDERAL PARLIAMENT – This should take account not only of the population of North Borneo but also of its seize and potentialities and in any case should not be less than that of Singapore.
18. NAME OF THE HEAD OF STATE – Yang di-Pertua Negara.
19. NAME OF STATE – Sabah.
20. LAND, FORESTS, 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.
I am posting the full 20 points agreement so that Sabahans know that these are supposed to be our rights and how far we have been led astray from them, and how far we have been cheated by the federal government.
Slowly but surely our Sabahan rights have been eroded away, like our riches, land and resources disappearing so that our future generations will grow up as paupers instead of being proud citizens of if not the richest, one of the richest states on forming Malaysia in 1963.
-Dr Felix Chong Kat Fah-