17 April, 2008
Present situation may never repeat for Sabah, says Jeffrey
Kota Kinabalu: Parti Keadilan Rakyat Vice President Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan thinks Sabah MPs and leaders should regard it a duty to back Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as Prime Minister and Pakatan Rakyat as the alternative government. He said they should think about the tremendous political benefits that this could bring to Sabah and Sarawak.
"The current political situation is something that may never present itself again and should be appreciated as a unique opportunity for Sabah and Sarawak to come together and re-negotiate what they want," he said.
"Its like rewriting history and a chance to correct past shortcomings as well as to make a New Deal for Sabah," he said in a statement, Wednesday.
Jeffrey said for 44 years the special rights of the Borneo states had been slowly eroded.
"The 20-Points, which listed out the conditions for Sabah before agreeing to be a partner to form the Federation were later ignored along with other assurances and promises given by Tunku Abdul Rahman and by successive BN governments," he said.
He said the Umno-led Federal Government had always called the shots, translating the concept of Malaysia from that of a loose federation of three separate state entities to that of a unitary system of 14 states.
He said that for 44 years Sabahans had no real choice but to accept and accommodate whatever Umno/BN says.
"In fact, anyone who stood up and fought could end up in prison under ISA or be removed from their positions such as the case with Donald Stephens and Stephen Kalong Ningkan of Sarawak when they were Chief Ministers," he said.
"But today we have a choice. Sabahans have a real opportunity to choose and to re-carve our future with the unique political situation presenting itself at the Federal level."
He said Anwar's party had in October 2006 accepted and approved (February 2007) a proposal called "The Tambunan Declaration" presented by him which later became part of the PKR 2008 Election Manifesto.
Anwar and Pakatan Rakyat are now offering these packages to Sabah in exchange for Sabah MPs' support, which included more autonomy, 20 per cent oil royalty, a Second Deputy Prime Minister for Sabah and Sarawak, six to seven Cabinet Ministers and Borneonisation.
Others in the packages were the setting up of a Royal Commission of Inquiry to solve illegal immigrant and Project IC problems, return of Labuan, more ambassadorial posts (15 each for Sabah and Sarawak) and the scrapping of JPPS.
"These offers are significant and, for the most part, fulfil the wishes and aspirations of Sabahans," he said, adding that the "record had shown that Anwar is one who can deliver."
Daily Express, Sabah
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