KOTA KINABALU: Sabah DAP is standing by its earlier stand that it is about time an East Malaysian becomes the Prime Minister.
In a joint statement today, its MPs and assemblymen including state chief Datuk Frankie Poon said they respected the decision by the Pakatan Harapan presidential council earlier today to reaffirm the coalition’s commitment for PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to be the coalition’s prime ministerial candidate.
However, they cautioned the PH leaders not to entirely discount East Malaysians from being put forward to lead the country, saying the option for Warisan president Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal to be the candidate for the post should remain open.
“While we accept and respect the decision today, we would like to reiterate that there is nothing stopping an East Malaysian from becoming prime minister as any Malaysian MP is equally qualified to be nominated for the position,” they said.
“Shafie, as Chief Minister, has managed to unite people from diverse racial and religious backgrounds in Sabah by creating an accommodating environment where people from diverse cultures and religions could support each other.
“He is more than qualified to become Prime Minister of the federation of Malaysia.
“As such, we believe that the option for Shafie as a PM candidate should remain open as long as Sabah remains an integral part of Malaysia.”
Besides sticking to the original plan, the PH presidential council had said it had also discussed the proposal for Shafie to be the candidate for the prime minister post.
“The presidential council believes all efforts to restore the people’s mandate must be done and this requires the support of all parties,” it said in a statement.
“Therefore the presidential council has given the full mandate to Anwar to continue discussions with all parties including Shafie for this purpose.”
Sabah DAP today reminded the council of Shafie’s loyalty towards PH amid the nation being embroiled in a political turmoil.
“It is critical for the leaders of PH to be conscious and be aware of who are friends and who are foes.
“From the very beginning, Shafie and his party Warisan have stood by PH through thick and thin,” they said.
The Sabah DAP leaders also added that they remained steadfast in supporting an East Malaysian as the premier as there had been none so far from this region.
“The previous federal government had consisted of not just PH parties (PPBM, DAP, PKR, Amanah) but also other parties from East Malaysia, most notably Warisan and Upko.
No political coalition can rule the country without the support of East Malaysians, they added.
The statement was jointly issued by the party’s three MPs, six assemblymen, one senator and a nominated assemblyman namely, Poon, Kota Kinabalu MP Chan Foong Hin, Tenom MP Noorita Sual, Sri Tanjong assemblyman Jimmy Wong, Luyang assemblyman Phoong Jin Zhe, Kapayan assemblywoman Jannie Lasimbang, Sandakan MP Vivian Wong, Likas assemblyman Tan Lee Fatt, Elopura assemblyman Calvin Chong, Nominated assemblyman Ronnie Loh and Senator Adrian Lasimbang.