From 1942 to 1945 during the Second World War, Japanese forces occupied North Borneo. The Japanese forces landed in Labuan on January 1, 1942 and continued to invade the rest of North Borneo. Bombings by the allied forces devastated of most towns including Sandakan, which was totally razed to the ground. Resistance against Japanese occupation were concentrated on the west and north coast of North Borneo. The resistance in Jesselton was led by and Albert Kwok and Jules Stephens of the Kinabalu Guerillas. Another resistance was led by Panglima Alli from Sulug Island, off the coast of Jesselton. In Kudat, there were also some resistance led by Tun Datu Mustapha. On October 10th, 1943, the Kinabalu Guerrilas together with followers of Panglima Alli staged a surprise attack on the Japanese. The attack however was foiled. The 324 local residents who participated in the attacks, including Albert Kwok and Panglima Alli, were detained in Petagas and later executed on January 21st, 1944. The site of the execution is today known as the Petagas War Memorial.
When Japan surrendered at the end of the war, North Borneo was administered by the British Millitary Administration and in 1946 it became a British Crown Colony. Jesselton was chosen to replace Sandakan as the capital. The Crown continued to rule North Borneo until 1963. On August 31, 1963 North Borneo attained self-government. There was a call for complete independence on that date by it was denied by the British Governor whom remained in power until Malaysia Day. The intention had been to form Malaysia on August 31 but due to objection from the Philippines and Indonesia, the formation had to be postponed to September 16. On September 16, 1963, North Borneo together with Malaya, Sarawak and Singapore formed the Federation Of Malaysia, and from then on, it became known as Sabah and declared independent from British sovereignty. To safeguard the interest of North Borneo in the new federation, a 20-point agreement, was entered between the federal and the state government.
Point 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
Point 2: Language
- a. Malay should be the national language of the Federation
- b. English should continue to be used for a period of 10 years after Malaysia Day
- c. English should be an official language of North Borneo for all purposes, State or Federal, without limitation of time.
Point 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.
Point 4: Head of Federation
The Head of State in North Borneo should not be eligible for election as Head of the Federation
Point 5: Name of Federation
“Malaysia” but not “Melayu Raya”
Point 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.
Point 7: Right of Secession
There should be no right to secede from the Federation
Point 8: Borneanisation
Borneanisation of the public service should proceed as quickly as possible.
Point 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
Point 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.
Point 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.
Point 12: Special position of indigenous 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
Point 13: State Government
- a) the Prime Minister should be elected by unofficial members of Legislative Council
- b) There should be a proper Ministerial system in North Borneo
Point 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
Point 15: Education
The existing educational system of North Borneo should be maintained and for this reason it should be under state control
Point 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)
Point 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
Point 18: Name of Head of State
Yang di-Pertua Negara
Point 19: Name of State
Point 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.
p/s : asal-usulnya...