I write this article in good faith for kind attention of all Dayak Ibans and other Dayak communities (Dayaklama and/or Dayakbaru) of Sarawak. We, Dayaks (Dayak Iban, Dayak Bidayuh and Dayak Orang Ulu), in Sarawak may not have 20 points like State of Sabah but we extremely have at least 21 points agreement prior to the formation of the “Federation of Malaysia”.
“Kapit Resolution 1962” was the key treaty and/or agreement mooted by the native Ibans with regard to the proposal of the “Federation of Malaysia” via the Malaysia Plan “Aum” 1962.
47 years of independence, Malaysia and/or the Federation of Malaya (promoted by UMNO) had failed to safeguard the natives’ rights and/or privileges and had also failed to accelerate efforts to improve the economics future of the natives in Sarawak.
Our history began here in 1962. The Ibans form the largest single group of the population and by far the largest native group.
Ibans are primarily country people and few take to town life. Although they are to be found throughout the country, nearly 75% of their total number live in the Second and Third Divisions.
Special Privileges for Natives Sarawak
Groups from all natives populations expressed a general desires;
a. The Head of State should be a native of Sarawak.
b. That special privileges should be given to the natives. They were extremely anxious that their position in the new Federation should be analogous to that of the Malays in the present Constitution of the Federation of Malaya.
c. There was a general agreement that economic development should be accelerated and increased attention paid to education, in particular reference to the needs of the natives;
d. That the land, forestry and agriculture should be subjected to be controlled by the State Government. Great emphasis was also laid on the need to safeguard customary rights and practices.
e. Customary land and other native rights should be protected.
General natives’ opinions toward the formation of “The Federation of Malaysia”
On a number of other points there are also some differences in opinions:
a. Some elements favor the arrangement that the Head of State of Sarawak should also be eligible to be the Head of the Federation of Malaysia, while others, a smaller element, favor a popularly elected of the Federation.
b. There were differences in attitude towards the acceptance of Islam as the national religions for Malaysia as a whole, and towards its particular application to Sarawak.
c. There were similar differences in attitude towards Malay as the national language for Malaysia as a whole and towards its application to Sarawak; and also as to official languages for Sarawak
d. There was conflict regarding the Constitutional allocation of the legislative powers between the Federal and the State Governments in the new Federation, to which is related the question of a formula for representation in the new Federal Parliament.
e. The immigration into Sarawak from other territories of the proposed Federation should be under the control of the State authorities. This springs from the fear that, on the establishment of “Malaysia”, the people of Malaya and Singapore in particular would migrate in large numbers to Sarawak to take advantage of the land and opportunities available, to the detriment of the people of Sarawak themselves. Coupled with this general anxiety, there is particular concern about the possible entry of undesirable elements from “outside”
f. There should also be no rapid change in the administrative arrangements affecting the daily life of the people or in such matters as taxation.
g. Rural development should be accelerated as it has been in the Federation of Malaya so that the general standard of living could be raised as soon as possible.
“Aum Kapit” Malaysia Plan 1962
“Aum” in Iban herein referred to as “conference”.
The most important single center of the Ibans is at Kapit in the Third Division. A conference (or “aum”) of 51 elected Chiefs (Pengarahs and Penghulus) had been held there on the 15th February, 1962, to discuss the proposals for a “Federation of Malaysia” set out in the Sarawak Government’s Paper.
KAPIT RESOLUTIONS 1962
The Iban conference @Aum reached their general agreement that the “scheme” should be supported, subject to certain conditions, and their resolutions when the Cobbold Commission visited Kapit on the 19th March 1962.
The “Kapit Resolutions 1962” were as follows:
1. Head of Sarawak State: The Head of the State of Sarawak to be a native of Sarawak.
Some groups expressed a wish that he should be elected by the people. Some would like him to have the title of Rajah and to be an Iban.
In either case, it was held that he should be eligible, with the Heads of other States in the new Federation, for the post of Head of the Federations. One or two groups asked that, during the initial period, a British Governor should be retained.
2. Head of State of Malaysia: The Head of each State in the Federation of Malaysia to be eligible in due course to be the Head of the Federation of Malaysia.
Some Ibans asked that he should be given the title of President as the title Yang di-Pertuan Agong is Malay, and is not acceptable.
3. Tradition Custom: “Adat Lama” to remain under the control of the Government of the State of Sarawak as it has until to-day.
4. Sarawak Land: Land to be under the control of the State including the existing rights of the natives of Sarawak in such matters as land.
5. National language: There was some difference of opinion. Some groups suggested that there should be no national language; others wanted it to be Iban. Still others were willing to have Malay or Iban.
6. Official Language: English to remain the official language of the State of Sarawak and to continue to be one of the official languages of Malaysia.
There was agreement among groups that English should be retained either indefinitely or for at least fifteen (15) years as the official language, not only in Sarawak but in the new Federation as well. Some groups wished Iban as well as English to be an official language.
7. Religion: Freedom in religious worship
8. Federal Representation: There is to be adequate representation for Sarawak in the Federal Government.
A number of groups asked that this should be worked out on a combined population and areas basis and that, within the number of seats allocated to Sarawak in the House of Representatives, the Ibans should have equal representation with the Malays and the Chinese.
9. Native Employment: British officers to remain until replaced by properly qualified local people. Natives to have a fair share of Government employment.
10. Native Privileges and Status: Sarawak natives to enjoy the same status and privileges as Malays in Malaya.
11. Education: Education to be a Federal subject and to be equalized throughout Malaysia as soon as possible. Sarawak natives to have a fair share of overseas scholarships.
12. Medium of instruction in schools: English should be retained as the medium of instruction, but Iban should be taught as a subject.
13. Immigration: Immigration to remain under the control of the State of Sarawak.
14. State Powers: Powers reserved in the Constitution to a State may not be changed without the agreement of the State.
15. Development: Development in Sarawak to be accelerated.
16. Religion: Much emphasis was placed on the need for freedom of religion as there is at present, i.e., freedom to profess, practice and propagate any religion.
There was a general feeling that Sarawak should be a secular State and the suggestion was made that if Muslims were given assistance from Federal funds, other religions – Christianity was specially mentioned – should enjoy similar treatment.
17. Name of the new Federation: There was dislike of the name “MALAYSIA” and hope that some other name could be devised. Many alternatives were suggested.
18. Armed Forces: The Ibans are anxious to have a fair chance of service in the Federation’s armed forces.
19. Sarawak State: A number of groups wanted to be sure that they could have a separate Sarawak State flag – some mentioned the old Rajah’s flag – a State anthem and a National Day.
20. Self-Government: The Ibans had been looking forward to the self-government which had been promised to them, and the principal reason why they were ready, on conditions, to accept the Malaysia proposals, despite their uncertainties, was because they were confident that the British Government would not recommend the scheme if it was not going to be beneficial to them.
21. Equal rights: Ibans wanted to be treated by the Malays as brothers, but not as the younger brothers. They were opposed to the idea that Sarawak should be treated as only one of 15 States in a Federation of Malaysia; they maintained that this would give her too small a voice in the new Federation’s affairs.
The 51 Chiefs at the conference together were said to represent some 112,000 Ibans out of a total population of nearly 238,000 and many delegations of Ibans who came before the Cobbold Commission teams at different centers in the Third Division confirmed that they supported the “Kapit Resolutions 1962”.
In a small number of cases a demand was made that they should either be accepted without alteration or that any changes should be made only after there had been opportunity for further discussion with the Iban people.
While the great majority of the Ibans in the Third Division who were in favor of the Malaysia plan took their stand on the “Kapit Resolutions 1962”, there were some groups who gave their full support to the “scheme” on the basis of the recommendations in the report of the Malaysia Solidarity Consultative Committee (MSCC).
Notes: The Sarawak MSCC Delegations in Singapore were represented by (3rd February 1962):
- Yeo Cheng Hoe – Leader
- Ong Kee Hui – Member
- Temenggong Jugah Ak Barieng – Member
- Pengarah Montegrai Ak Tugang – Member
- Dato Abang Haji Openg – Member
- Ling Beng Siew – Member
- James Wong – Member
- Remigius Durin Ak Nganau – Member
Other Desirable Provisions
Some felt that this was a desirable provision in a new venture about which they felt some doubts. Others suggested that it should apply only in certain circumstances such as:
a. A change of regime in Kuala Lumpur.
b. A change in the Federal Constitution which had not been accepted by Sarawak.
One group from the Baram River hotly opposed the creation of a Federation of Malaysia but recognized that the decision might go against them.
They insisted that, if this was so, certain conditions should be met. These were much the same as those set out in the “Kapit Resolutions 1962”, but went further in some respects and the group was not prepared to discuss any modification of them.
Right to withdraw from the new Federation
There was fear too that a large proportion of Sarawak’s revenue would be handed over to the Federal Government without a corresponding return in the shape of services to the people of Sarawak.
The question of the right to withdraw from the new Federation was raised with Sarawak MCSS at Kapit and elsewhere.
In certain circumstances there should be such a right at least for a period of five (5) years, and that this should be specifically stated in the Federal Constitution.
The Second Division Ibans were not represented at the “Aum Kapit” but most of the many groups supported the idea of Malaysia, though they asked for safeguards.
In many places, more especially in the more remote areas and in areas where the Ibans form a proportionately smaller section of the population, a feeling of general uncertainty was apparent.
The Ibans and others who had given the matter careful thought, that the “Kapit Resolutions 1962” had to be considered against a background of implicit trust in the British Government.
Political activity had been stimulated to an alarming degree by the “Malaysia” proposals and many Ibans were afraid that there might be violence not only between different races but between Ibans who supported the “Malaysia Plan” and those who opposed it.
Finally, the view was expressed by the Ibans in many centers that it was of great importance that a decision on Malaysia should be reached as soon as possible.
So, where are Ibans and other native Dayaks today? What is your general status?
If you failed to vote your rights, you failed to protect and/or defend your “Special Privileges”AGI IDUP – AGI NGELABAN – CHANGE WE MUST…..Hoo…Haa…!!
From : http://dayakbaru.com/weblog08/2010/10/13/kapit-resolutions-1962-dayak-treaty-for-malaysia/