By BORNEOTODAY REPORTERS
KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah rights movement is starting to produce results, said Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) deputy president Senator Chin Su Phin.
He said the announcement of the exemption of Sabah from the cabotage policy and upgrade of the Sandakan Airport by the Prime Minister during his visit to Sandakan last weekend is proof.
For the past two years the call to restore Sabah rights has grown louder and stronger, and Chin said that Najib Razak had not ignored them.
“Today, the effectiveness of the role played by the committee (for Revision of State Rights under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 chaired by the Minister of Special Tasks Teo Chee Kang) is starting to show.
“I believe the committee will continue to realize and bring more good news to Sabahans,” adding that Najib’s announcements proved that the Barisan Nasional (BN) Government was willing to listen to the people.
Chin said more importantly, it shows that the Federal government is paying more and more attention to the voices of East Malaysians, which augurs well for the people in Sabah and Sarawak.
Although details of the cabotage policy exemption effective June 1 has yet to be released, he said the announcement has undoubtedly boost the spirits and determination of the Committee for Revision of State Rights to pursue the restoration of Sabah rights in the future.
“We hope the exemption of East Malaysia from the cabotage policy will reduce the price of goods in Sabah or at least lower it to the same level as West Malaysia,” he added
Even though there are many factors affecting the price of goods, Chin said the freight charges was one of the reasons contributing to more expensive goods in East Malaysia, especially Sabah.
On the other hand, Chin said the new Sandakan Airport terminal building and soon-to-be upgraded runway would enable more airlines and larger aircraft to land, thus benefitting the local tourism sector.
According to the latest reports, he said China tourists favoured Sabah the most among the Malaysian states.
Hence, he believed that the upgraded airport would attract more China tourists to Sabah, especially Sandakan.
Nonetheless, Chin said the issue of Sabah rights involved many other aspects, such as the mandatory review on the annual special grant to Sabah every five years, allowing more Sabahans to head federal and state departments and agencies and increasing our oil royalty, which the Committee for Revision of State Rights would continue to pursue from the Federal Government.
“We have also submitted a memorandum to the Prime Minister recently on the proposal to build an Urban Transformation Centre (UTC) in Sandakan, which Najib has agreed to consider.
“The establishment of the UTC will boost the economy in Sandakan.”
Chin said LDP, as a Sabah-based political party, would continue to voice out issues and suggestions pertaining to our State rights.
He added that the party would also gather and convey the views of Sabahans to BN’s top leadership via internal channels.