Team Up For States Rights Anifah Urges Sabah Sarawak


Anifah Aman, former foreign minister.KOTA KINABALU: Sabah and Sarawak could have a better chance of restoring their state rights and gaining what is owed to them if they work as a unit, said former foreign minister Anifah Aman
Anifah noted that the two states had long been at the short end of the stick on such matters but by working together, Sabah and Sarawak could just convince Putrajaya to listen to their demands
He also urged Sabahans to shed racial thinking. “Let’s come and sit together. No more whispers but we create a roar,” he said
“The bargaining chip is our unity – if we are united, we have better bargaining power. They may not be able to form the federal government without Sabah and Sarawak
“So not only we work internally (in Sabah) but also with Sarawak. Not because we want to go against the federal government but we just want what are rightfully ours,” he said
Anifah was speaking during a forum he hosted on “Political Unity for the Interest of Sabahans” here today. Among others who joined him were members of the MySabah group, whose objective is to restore Sabah’s rights under the Malaysia Agreement of 1963
The group includes Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) president Yong Teck Lee and Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (STAR) president Jeffrey Kitingan
Anifah said it was not possible for Sabah and Sarawak to form the central government with only a total of 56 Members of Parliament in the two states
But the states would be formidable force if they moved as one
“We want them to listen to us … promises after promises they’ve never really fulfilled – it’s very hurtful,” he said of the federal government
Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng had promised many things before the 2018 elections but nothing materialised. “After that he just brushed it aside, saying ‘we don’t have money’. Why promise in the first place? That is cheating the people of Sabah and they do not feel even a slight guilt after giving those promises everyone is expecting,” he said
On Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad saying yesterday that the 20% oil royalty for Sabah and Sarawak not workable, Anifah said the government should at least meet them halfway
“Give us 10% as stipulated in the federal constitution. But the 40% net revenue owed to Sabah, they cannot deny us. You cannot just say ‘we don’t have money’ and that’s it. This is why I say we have to speak with one voice.”Anifah said Sabah’s annual allocation in the national budget is also woeful considering that some of the constituencies in the state are bigger than the states in the peninsula
“Why? Because we have been very nice – they always divide and rule, they let you fight and you run to them,” he said, adding this had happened to state leaders in the past, where one was pitted against the other
On a question whether this is the start of the so-called powerful Borneo bloc, he said: “Call it whatever you want (but) I would love that. But we have not started yet so let’s see.”Meanwhile, he said the forum was aimed at picking the brains of Sabahans worried about their state’s future as a result of illegal immigrants, the worsening economy and MA63 issues
Anifah said the people are concerned about possible changes in Sabah’s political landscape from “new Malaysians” becoming part of the electoral process
“They are worried of a reverse takeover, that we may lose our state in a true democratic process,” he said. The recent issue of temporary Sabah immigration passes (PSS) had caused many to be uneasy
The PSS will be issued to documented foreigners in Sabah, replacing three types of identification papers previously issued. It is estimated there are some 600,000 holders of these three documents
“What will happen to our children? They may have a country named Malaysia but not a state any more,” he said
Anifah urged Sabahans to shed the racial mentality. “Forget you are Sino-Kadazan, Kadazandusun Murut. This is the divisive factor applied on us. Look at each other as Sabahans. We can have a common goal, to save Sabah.” - FMT

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