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Saturday, February 29, 2020

Let Sabahans, Sarawakians lead nation, says civil society group

Sabah Chief Minister Shafie Apdal (right) and his Sarawak counterpart, Abang Johari Openg. A group of civil society members says East Malaysian leaders have the credentials to lead the nation.
PETALING JAYA: East Malaysian leaders should be given a chance to bring the nation out of the political impasse, a group of 16 civil society members said.
It said civil society in Malaysia is concerned about the deteriorating political situation in the peninsula which has created a great deal of instability.
“It seems Sabah and Sarawak, the founding partners of Malaysia, are now reduced to the role of innocent bystanders, caught between warring factions who are trying to capture the government unconstitutionally.
“Sabah and Sarawak demand that their voices be heard in this battle for political supremacy.
“The East refuses to be a political tool for those trying to form a backdoor government. We agree with the demand for rights for autonomy and control of oil resources and what was promised and negotiated with the Pakatan government,” the group said.
The statement was signed by Asgari Mohd Fuad Stephens, Johan Arriffin Samad, Fazar Mohd Arif Salleh, Mohamed Tawfik Ismail, Ambiga Sreenevasan, Lim Teck Ghee, KJ John, Tajuddin Rasdi, Ding Seling, Siti Kasim, Arun Dorasamy, Peter John Jaban, Atama Katama, Faridah Mohd Fuad Stephens, Bego Sepop and Dominique Ng,
It said East Malaysian leaders, who have shown religious and racial tolerance and set examples of unity in diversity, can lead the nation out of the impasse.
“If Malaysia wants a unity government, let’s start from the East. When we signed the MA63 agreement, we hoped for a just society and fair society and caring leaders who put nation before self. It is now confirmed that the peninsular party leaders are only thinking about themselves.”
The group said the chief ministers of Sabah and Sarawak have the credentials to lead the country, having spent most of their political life interacting with federal senior ministers on policies.
The Sabah chief minister, it said, was also an Umno vice-president before he broke ranks with Najib Razak over the 1MDB affair.
“It is about time an East Malaysian leader is given the opportunity to lead the country as prime minister,” the group added. - FMT

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