Constitutional Asymmetry in Malaysia: A Case Study of Sabah and Sarawak. A Country Study of Constitutional Asymmetry in Malaysia

  • Asri SallehEmail author
  • Arnold Puyok
  • Tony Paridi Bagang
Part of the Federalism and Internal Conflicts book series (FEINCO)


Since the inception of the Federation of Malaysia in 1963, the relations between the State and its sub-entities particularly Sabah and Sarawak are often acrimonious. Up until now, the relations of the three continue to be marred by controversies over jurisdiction of power, nationalism and even autonomy. Despite the appalling dynamics, the State manages to keep hold of its federal-structural integrity. Salleh, Puyok and Bagang draw attention to the background and foreground of such relations by revisiting the official documents preceding the formation of the Malaysia. They include the 20-Point Memorandum for Sabah and 18-Point Memorandum for Sarawak, Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) and the Federal Constitution of Malaysia. In principal, the Federal Constitution accords Sabah and Sarawak a special position within the State, hence the intended constitutional asymmetry designed as such to provide Sabah and Sarawak with the autonomous means for progress and development. However, after more than five decades, the two sub-entities have instead turned out to be among the least developed in the State. The authors conclude by attempting to see if Malaysia presents a case of a strong or weak constitutional asymmetry by assessing the link between constitutional asymmetry to multi-nationalism.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Asri Salleh
    • 1
    Email author
  • Arnold Puyok
    • 2
  • Tony Paridi Bagang
    • 1
  1. 1.Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) SabahKota KinabaluMalaysia
  2. 2.Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS)Kota SamarahanMalaysia

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