Nothing Personal About ‘New Deal’ For Borneo; It’s Institutional Reform

FLASHBACK: Wan Azizah Wan Ismail together with Pakatan Harapan Sabah leaders at the launch of the ‘New Deal’ manifesto for Sabah held in Kota Kinabalu on September 25, 2017.

By BORNEOTODAY REPORTERS
KOTA KINABALU: Pakatan Harapan Sabah has hit back at Raymond Tan, strongly condemning what it described as ‘unfounded and wild allegations’ by the deputy Chief Minister against the opposition coalition’s ‘New Deal’ manifesto.

It also expressed deep regret over Tan’s disrespectful attitude towards Dr Mahathir Mohamed, a senior statesman, who is also Pakatan Harapan chief.

Pakatan Harapan Sabah Council in a statement here Thursday, said Tan was biased reading the manifesto which was launched last Friday.

“He tried in every way and mean to distort and twist the noble intention of the New Deal claiming it as “an excuse to remove the Special Rights of Sabah and Sarawak,” the statement said.

The statement was signed by Christina Liew, PH Sabah Chairperson cum PKR Sabah Chairperson, Stephen Wong, PH Sabah Deputy Chairman cum DAP Sabah Chairman and Haji Hamzah Abdullah, PH Sabah Deputy Chairman cum Amanah Sabah Chairman.

“Tan has gone too far. Even though we are off different political views but he has acted ungentlemanly,” the council said. “He even accused Dr Mahathir and PH leaders of having plans to remove our immigration rights.”

“Pakatan Harapan Sabah agrees that we must defend all Sabah’s Special Rights and safeguards under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (“MA63”; whenever mentioned, shall include the Inter-Governmental Committee Report, “IGCR”).

“We also believe that MA63 should be regarded only as our bottom line, not our final goal. In other words, PH Sabah believe that Sabah can do better than as envisaged under MA63, without denying the sanctity of MA63 in any way.

The statement added that the ‘New Deal’ was something for Sabah to renegotiate with, in achieving real and meaningful autonomy, “which gives us the pertinent power, capacities and resources to govern ourselves and to shape our own destiny, and not just autonomy in the narrow sense of not having to take orders from Malaya.”

PH Sabah also posed a query to Tan, asking if any Sabahan, in his right mind should be satisfied with the minimalist state autonomy for Sabah while on one hand a dominant federal government (almost amounting to a unitary state in all but name).

“Or should we renegotiate for more state autonomy, not just confined with a limited framework the present Federal Constitution or even the MA63 only?”

Among the “new” elements in the “deal” offered to Sabah by PH was Power Sharing whereby a Deputy Prime Minister for Sabah and Sarawak would be appointed to reflect the equal partner status for these two signatorites of MA63.

PH Sabah also stated that limitation of the Chief Minsiter tenure was equally important to prevent “absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

The New Deal also offered more state autonomies – to have Education, Health, Transport, Social Safety and Tourism under State List or Concurrent List.

“The New Deal we are offering to Sabah is, 20 per cent Oil Royalty and 50 per cent revenue sharing. This offer is definitely better than provisions 112C and 112D, Part V, Schedule 10, as enshrined in Federal Constitution.

“The ‘New Deal’ is not about personal agenda. It’s regardless whether Dr Mahathir has wrongdoings in the past or whether Lim Kit Siang is commited to the Sabah Special rights.

“It’s about Institutional Reform, and it’s our own Sabahan leaders in Pakatan Harapan to get the New Deal on board, in the event of a Two-Party system emerged in Malaysia,” the statement added.

The PH Sabah Council also believed that a blind loyalty to Putrajaya will only make Sabah a beggar in the Federation.

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