The 18 & 20 Points

Personally, I feel every Sarawakian and Sabahan should know what is the 18 (Sarawak) & 20 (Sabah) points. We should eat, sleep, shit and die with it for as long as it takes. I kid you not!

sarawak flag

The 18 & 20 points are the memoranda agreement was made by Sarawak and Sabah with Malaya to form Malaysia. The fact is, these points act as pre-conditions to the formation of Malaysia. Yet, these memoranda agreement should made known to Malaysian had instead been a sensitive issue to the extend of ISA attention.

sabah flag

The 20-Points Memorandum Revisited

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
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 Chief 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.

Point 17: Representation in Federal Parliament
This should take account not only of the population of North Borneo but also of its size 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.

In 16th September 1963, Sarawak and Sabah agreed to the formation of the federation of Malaysia on condition the interests, rights and autonomy of its peoples are protected and honoured, as the 20 Points.

Here’s what a Sarawakian sees on the day Sarawak joined the formation of Malaysia – Malaysia Day, 16 September.

ps – still compiling the 18 points.


  1. OneBorneo

    22 April, 2010 at 8:22 am

    This is partial and a summary
    Some phrases are either weakly interpeted
    You’ll never get it from National Archive, the Parliament, the Swak Gov’t…
    My friend is keeping a scanned copy of this. he got it from a NGO friend who is having links to the UN, NGOs on other parts of the globe.

    1. ladybirdmollyz

      22 April, 2010 at 12:25 pm

      yes i agreed with you on getting the actual points of agreement. the comprehensive one is actually available from datuk amar james wong book.

      1. Singfish

        14 June, 2011 at 7:44 pm

        Point 13: State Government
        a) the Prime Minister should be elected by unofficial members of Legislative Council.
        *Correction = it’s Chief minister .

        1. ladybirdmollyz

          15 June, 2011 at 8:26 am

          correction done and thank you. 🙂

        2. Singfish

          15 June, 2011 at 8:28 pm

          Praise your work & dedication and glad that more and more of us are aware of the agreement, our children are however deprived of this historic moment. They were taught in school that Malaysia Day is 31 Aug 1957. Our children are living on a false testament.

  2. Undi BN=Undi Dr. George Chan=Undi Najib | A WOMAN’S DIARY

    12 April, 2011 at 8:34 am

    […] Whatever it is, whoever rule and govern the state of Sarawak, please do not FORGET to uphold the 18 Points Agreement. […]

  3. ladybirdmollyz

    16 June, 2011 at 5:11 am


    glad to know the mentioned post has got your attention and hopefully you’ll help to spread it too. it is our role to make sure our children know about this agreement on top of what they are being taught at school. so, together we can make a change. 🙂

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