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The 1963 Malaysia Agreement (MA63): Sabah and Sarawak and the Politics of Historical Grievances


Chin, J, The 1963 Malaysia Agreement (MA63): Sabah and Sarawak and the Politics of Historical Grievances, Minorities Matter: Malaysian Politics and People, ISEAS, S Lemiere (ed), Selangor, Malaysia, pp. 75-92. ISBN 978-967-2165-58-3 (2019) [Research Book Chapter]

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Copyright 2019 Sophie Lemiere

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While Malaysia underwent a peaceful regime change in the 14th general elections (GE14), one issue not discussed widely enough is the different political dynamics operating in the East Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak. Unlike other states, Sabah and Sarawak are physically located in Borneo, far away from Putrajaya. These two states have a very different history, demography and social history from the eleven states in the Malay Peninsula, or Malaya. In the past decade, politics in these two states have been increasingly dictated by state nationalism, which locals refer to as ‘MA63’. This refers to the Malaysia Agreement, the legal instrument signed in 1963 which led to the formation of the Federation of Malaysia. After more than half a century, many in Sabah and Sarawak think that they did not get anything out of the federation despite many promises made prior to the signing of MA63. Today, all the political parties in Sabah and Sarawak are clamouring for ‘rights’ lost in the past fifty years and are openly calling for a review of federal–state relations.

This chapter will detail the historical grievances among the peoples of Sabah and Sarawak and argue that if Putrajaya does not take heed of the unhappiness, over the long term there is a real risk of secession or a breakdown in federal–state relations.

Item Details

Item Type:Research Book Chapter
Keywords:Malaysia agreement, sabah, sarawak
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Political science
Research Field:Government and politics of Asia and the Pacific
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:Government and politics
Objective Field:Political systems
UTAS Author:Chin, J (Professor James Chin)
ID Code:132309
Year Published:2019
Deposited By:Office of the School of Social Sciences
Deposited On:2019-05-02
Last Modified:2020-03-17

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