Opposition parties in Sabah continue push for autonomy


(The Star) – Sabah-based Opposition parties continued their push to keep Pakatan Rakyat out of the state.

Calling on Pakatan to stay out of Sabah and Sarawak, State Reform Party (Sabah chapter) chairman Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan said there should be mutual respect and sincerity among all Opposition parties to ensure that a single candidate takes on Barisan Nasional in the coming general election.

“All the talk about one-to-one contests can be achieved only if the Opposition parties can negotiate about it rationally and objectively,” he said when presenting a formula for Pakatan to focus on Peninsular Malaysia and leave Sabah and Sarawak to local parties.

“Let Pakatan focus on the 165 (75%) parliamentary seats in the peninsula and let local-based parties contest in the remaining 25% seats in Borneo.

“This formula should be acceptable to Pakatan. Why would it want to contest in the 25% of seats in Borneo unless it is greedy or has other motives?” he asked.

He said Pakatan had pledged to return autonomy to Sabah and Sarawak and if it was genuine Pakatan should support Borneo-based political parties.

“If Pakatan insists on contesting in Sabah and Sarawak, it would mean that their autonomy pledge is not sincere but merely a political gimmick,” said Dr Jeffrey, adding that if Pakatan took the Borneo states they would automatically lose the state’s bargaining position as a third force.

Dr Jeffrey’s party and home-grown Sabah Progressive Party have refused to join the national Opposition coalition.

They and other local-based parties have formed a loose coalition dubbed the United Borneo Alliance (UBA).