By Dr. Andrew J Harding, Dr. James Chin
On sixteen September 1963 Malaysia got here into being with the accession of Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore to the prevailing Federation of Malaya. This booklet marks the fiftieth anniversary of this extraordinary occasion in South East Asia's heritage. the point of interest of the booklet could be as a rule at the adventure of Sabah and Sarawak as matters of the federation. It seems to be on the event of federalism from a couple of various views, conserving in brain not only the consequences of federalism on Sabah and Sarawak but additionally the consequences at the federation as an entire. Has the discount of 1963 been adhered to? Has Malaysian federalism been a profitable instance of this manner of presidency in Asia, or has the discount been undermined in methods opposite to the unique deal within the Malaysia contract of 1963? What were the sensible results on East Malaysia in the course of 50 years?
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Extra resources for 50 Years of Malaysia. Federalism Revisited
This is true not just at the federal level but at the state level too. As some speakers at the workshop pointed out, state political leaders in Malaysia have not always maintained states’ rights and interests within the federal structure despite having ample opportunities to do so. One obvious and essential element of a federation is a process of dispute resolution which polices the boundaries of state and federal powers, ensuring that the original bargain is not contravened by either or any side of that bargain.
It is also true, however, that we no longer regard federalism as the only way of solving these problems. Europe in particular experimented with various kinds of ‘devolution’, which involve a form of delegation of executive and legislative powers to a sub-national unit but without implications for national sovereignty. These arrangements are typically one-off or asymmetrical, rather than a system adopted for all sub-national units, and respond to particular demands for autonomy. Asymmetry here means that the powers being exercised are not the same as in the other sub-national units.
Tan Sri Simon Sipaun gives us his view not only as a Sabahan but perhaps, more importantly, as someone who has to manage the day-to-day intricacies of federal-state relations. He served as Sabah state secretary, the state’s highest civil servant, from 1989 to 1993. He lived through the colonial period and saw North Borneo becoming Sabah. In Sipaun’s view, federalism has been subverted by the federal government systematically over the entire period of fifty years, and he is sceptical that any changes will occur without a change in the federal government.
50 Years of Malaysia. Federalism Revisited by Dr. Andrew J Harding, Dr. James Chin