KOTA KINABALU: The difference between the present Warisan-led State government and its predecessor, the Umno-led State government is the former is dominated by local-bred Sabah parties – Parti Warisan Sabah and Upko.
“The Chief Minister is from Warisan, so is one of the Deputy Chief Ministers, Datuk Jaujan Sambakong. Another Deputy Chief Minister, Datuk Seri Wilfred Madius Tangau, is from another local and KDM-based party, Upko. This is unlike the previous BN State government which was led by Umno, a ‘Malaya’ party.
“Warisan and Upko also makes up the majority of the State Cabinet. See the difference?” said Paginatan Assemblyman, Datuk Abidin Madingkir here Friday.
Madingkir who is an Upko supreme council member said that being a local party, Warisan or Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal do not have to refer to Kuala Lumpur, unlike Umno.
“Previously, sikit-sikit (every time) refer to KL even on small matters. In computer or IT terms, (the present State Government) is a ‘stand-alone’ computer. Although a few State Ministers are from PKR and DAP, Shafie being the CM is the ‘Taiko’. He calls the shots,” he said.
Madingkir said that for the first time in decades, Sabah no longer have to ‘kowtow’ to Kuala Lumpur anymore.
“It is therefore freer to speak out or ask for whatever, unlike (when) Umno (was heading the government). A case in point is that Shafie continues to speak out on issues like the 20 per cent oil royalty and Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63). The culture of fear started by Umno is no longer there.”
He said it was a pity that the Sabah Chief Minister from Umno previously have to think twice before opening his mouth for fear of repercussions from Kuala Lumpur.
“The Sarawak late chief minister, had fought a lot of things for his state but our Sabah Umno Chief Minister just kept quiet for fear of offending KL. Pity us, pity Sabah,” he said.
The question of the two peninsular-based parties, PKR and DAP undermining the State Government does not arise, he said, adding that they were just partners in the State Government and they know it too.
“They know where they stand and are behaving themselves,” he said, adding that lending credence to the Warisan-led State government was the fact that three leaders from Warisan were made full federal ministers and also given two deputy minister posts.
“This speaks for itself. The Warisan-led State government has the respect of the grand old man of Malaysian politics, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad,” he said.
Towards this end, Madingkir also corrected Sabah Umno liaison chief, Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor who stated on Thursday that Tangau who is Upko acting president was wrong to say the present State government has no Malaya parties as there were representatives from PKR and DAP.
“First of all, Tangau didn’t say that there are no more ‘Malaya’ parties in the Sabah government now. He only made reference to Umno which he felt should go back to Kuala Lumpur,” he said.
“What he meant was Upko (and the people of Sabah) were finally freed from the clutches of Umno after more than 20 years. The number of seats obtained by Umno in the State this time round showed how Sabahans felt about Umno,” said Madingkir.
Meanwhile, Upko Youth Chief Kennedy John said Hajiji should not have twisted Tangau’s words on why Upko ran away from Umno.
“Tangau said Upko severed ties with Umno because the party do not want to be in Umno’s grip anymore and that the party is now in a comfortable zone as we are no longer bullied. He also said that Upko wants to follow the Sabah culture and there is no need for Malaya culture in Sabah, like in Sarawak,” he said.
He said although PKR and DAP are part of the new State Government, the arrangements were different compared to BN’s rule.
“PKR and DAP leaders in “Malaya” let their local-born leaders here decide what is best for the State and do not interfere, unlike before when Umno was ruling, where their “Malaya” masters were calling the shots,” he said.
Kennedy said the Warisan-Upko-PKR-DAP State Government has given new hopes to the people where “we will decide what is best for the people without the dominant Umno lording over the running of the State.”
He disclosed that Upko had been deliberating on several occasions, even as far as a few years back, about leaving BN to get away from Umno but the Supreme Council could not reach a unanimous decision.
“But the chance came when the GE14 results were announced. When the Upko Supreme Council met, it was decided that the time was right to dump BN, especially Umno.
“Upko only enters into discussions with Warisan after the Supreme Council decided to quit BN. So, for Hajiji and others to insinuate that Upko left for positions and personal glory is an afterthought,” he said.
In this respect, Kennedy said Upko has no regret of freeing itself from Umno’s grip.
“Upko is very comfortable with the working environment under Shafie where Upko’s views and opinions, especially those involving the people, are taken seriously without the need to refer to Putrajaya anymore,” he said.
Kennedy said the plan by Umno Sabah, Star and PBS, among others to re-brand themselves under a new coalition Gabungan Bersatu Sabah (GBS) showed that the Umno and BN brand has passed its sell-by date.
“The move will spell the end for BN in Sabah. It shows Upko made the right decision and we should not be criticised just because we left earlier,” he said.-SabahNewsToday