50 years on, Sabah and S'wak still unequal partners
Fifty years ago, an agreement between the 11 states of Malaya and the Borneo states of Sabah and Sarawak resulted in the formation of Malaysia. We became one nation for political and economic reasons.
Sabah and Sarawak obtained their independence from Britain through the formation of Malaysia. Like in most partnerships, Sabah and Sarawak did not give away all. The 18-point agreement for Sarawak and the 20-point agreement for Sabah gave them autonomy over land, forests, mining, education and immigration.
It needs to be underscored that only about a third of those surveyed in Sabah and Sarawak had wanted to form Malaysia. Like in any partnership there are expectations when agreements are signed or vows taken and promises made.
The leaders and the people of the Borneo states had expected to enjoy privileged treatment within the new federation of Malaysia. But that was not to be for the people .