By BARU BIAN
COMMENT: I wholeheartedly support Tun Mahathir’s proposal to put forward Warisan President Datuk Seri Shafie Abdal as Prime Minister of Malaysia.
As equal partners in the Federation of Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak leaders should have the same rights as those in Peninsular Malaysia to be made Prime Minister of Malaysia.
The appointment of Shafie Abdal will be a big step in fulfilling the vision of our forefathers when they agreed to the formation of Malaysia that we would be equal partners building the nation of Malaysia together.
Datuk Seri Shafie Abdal is a seasoned politician and leader of a strong party in Sabah.
He is eminently qualified for the post, and the PH leaders should give their support to the proposal as a way to end the impasse over the PM candidate, and at the same time, it recognises that there are other qualified leaders who deserve the same opportunity to hold the position.
The only requirement in the Federal Constitution is that the person eligible to be appointed as PM by the Yang di Pertuan Agong should be someone who “is likely to command the confidence of the majority” Article 43(2)(a). There is therefore no impediment to the appointment of Shafie Abdal.
Having a PM from Sabah will be cause for much joy in both Sabah and Sarawak.
It will finally be a sign of real inclusivity that our people have perhaps never felt and may go a long way in soothing the rising resentment of Sabahans and Sarawakians at the perceived unequal treatment of Sabah and Sarawak and the lack of attention to our needs by the Federal Government.
The long-standing disputes arising from the Malaysia Agreement 1963 will also be more likely to be resolved with Shafie Abdal heading the government of Malaysia.
It would be in the interests of all parties to have these issues of State rights settled swiftly.
I am sure that Malaysians who truly believe in national unity will accept with open hearts a Sabahan as Prime Minister in the same way they have accepted Malaysians from other states of Peninsular Malaysia as Prime Minister over the last 63 years.
Finally, I am hopeful that GPS leaders will lend their support for Shafie Abdal to be Prime Minister as this presents an opportunity to show the rest of the world that we are equal partners in the Federation of Malaysia and not mere second cousins.
Sabah and Sarawak leaders, if given a chance, will bring a refreshing change to the government of this nation.
The leaders of GPS will surely agree that we have every right to contribute in this manner to the way forward for a significant fulfillment of the Malaysia Agreement 1963.
*Baru Bian is Selangau MP