Sarawak is one of the four original partners of the Federation of Malaysia, alongside Sabah, Singapore (which left in 1965), and the Federation of Malaya. This partnership was established under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63). However, the validity and benefits of MA63 have been frequently questioned and challenged. Notably, during the signing of MA63, Sabah and Sarawak were British colonies, while the Federation of Malaya was an independent country.

Legal and Historical Context
International law stipulates that colonies do not possess the sovereignty required to make treaties. This principle was affirmed by the International Court of Justice in the Chagos Islands Case in 2019, which cast doubt on the legality of agreements made by non-sovereign entities. As a result, the MA63 agreement is considered by some to be legally fragile. It is crucial for the beneficiary states, especially Malaya, to ensure that Sabah and Sarawak are not disadvantaged and receive ample benefits from the federation.

Development and Disparities
Malaysia’s first Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman, stated that one of the main objectives for incorporating Sabah and Sarawak into Malaysia was to develop these former British colonies. However, over the past half-century, there have been numerous instances of previous administrations disregarding or depriving the rights of Sabah and Sarawak. Tunku Abdul Rahman himself acknowledged on July 18, 1963, that if Malaysia's formation did not benefit Sabah and Sarawak, they should have the option to leave the federation.

Current Sentiments and Calls for Change
Many people in Sabah and Sarawak feel that they have not benefited as promised, leading to growing sentiment for separation from Malaysia. To address these grievances and fully restore the rights granted under MA63, several unconstitutional amendments need to be repealed. These include ACT 354 (which removed MA63 rights), the Continental Shelf Act 1966, the Territorial Seas Act 2012, and the Petroleum Development Act 1974.

Representation and Constitutional Safeguards
Restoring the representation of Sabah and Sarawak in the Malaysian parliament to the MA63 entrenched level of 34.6% each is imperative. This representation level was safeguarded by Articles 161E and 46 of the Federal Constitution and must not be altered or removed to ensure fair and equitable participation within the Federation of Malaysia.

By addressing these issues and restoring the original intentions of MA63, it is possible to foster a more just and equitable relationship between Sarawak, Sabah, and the rest of Malaysia.