The 20-point agreement, or the 20-point memorandum, is an agreement made between the state of Sabah (then North Borneo) with what would be the federal government of Malaysia prior to the formation of Malaysia in September 16, 1963. A similar agreement was made between the state of Sarawak and the federal government but with certain differences in their 18-point agreement.
The agreement was written for the main purpose of safeguarding the interests, rights, and the autonomy of the people of Sabah upon the formation of the federation of Malaysia. It was originally envisaged that Sabah be one of the four entities in the federation, the others being Malaya, Singapore, and Sarawak. However as times passed, Sabah and Sarawak has ended up being merely one of the 13 states in the federation.
The position today
There has been numerous calls for the agreement to be reviewed to take into account social, economic, and political changes over time.
The memorandum submitted by the five political parties to the Inter-Government Committee was of crucial importance. The various points (later known as the 20 points safeguards) represented the areas the various leaders considered most crucial to
While there was no objection to Islam being the national religion of
(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
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 series of amendments to a Constitution drafted and agreed by different states in totally different circumstances. A new Constitution for
- Head of the Federation
The Head of State in
- Name of Federation
Control over immigration into any part of
- Right of Secession
There should be no right to secede from the Federation.
Borneanisation of the public service should proceed as quickly as possible.
- 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
The recommendations in paragraph 148(k) of the Report of the Cobbold Commissions 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 the 12 years”;
(c) sub-paragraph (iii) should not contain any restriction tied to the citizenship of parents – a person born in
- Tariffs and Finance
- Special Position of Indigenous Races
In principle, the indigenous races of
- State Government
(a) The Prime Minister should be elected by unofficial members of Legislative Council.
(b) There should be a proper Ministerial system in
- Transitional Period
This should be seven years and during such period legislative power must be left with the State of
The existing educational system of
- Constitution Safeguards
No amendment modifications or withdrawal of any special safeguards granted to
The power of amending the Constitution of the State of
- Representation in Federal Parliament
This should take account not only of the population of
- Name of Head of State
Yang di-Pertua Negeri
- Name of State
Forest, Local Government, etc.
This provision in the Constitution of the Federation in respect of the powers of the National Land Council should not apply in
- "No need to review 20-Point", Daily Express News. December 22, 2004.
- "Sabah, S'wak urged to review agreements", Daily Express News. December 21, 2004
1. G. Kittingan, Jeffrey and J. Ongkili, Maximus. 1989.