Upko softens stance on Sabah CM rotation system

  • Nation
  • Saturday, 22 Nov 2003

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Barisan Nasional appears to be one step closer to working out a new power-sharing formula now that United Pasok Momogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (Upko) has softened its stance on the two-year chief minister rotation system. 

Upko president Tan Sri Bernard Dompok said with the impending state elections, Sabah Barisan would have to come up with a new manifesto that may include a new power-sharing formula for the state. 

He said a series of meetings called by Sabah Umno and other state Barisan parties to resolve the future of the rotation system introduced by the ruling coalition in 1994 was long overdue. 

“Sabah Barisan should be matured enough to look at the issues in a way that would further stabilise the politics of the state so that we can bring about more development to Sabah,” said Dompok, who is Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, after visiting the site of the new Federal House complex yesterday. 

Asked if Upko would agree to a new formula, Dompok said: “I am all in favour of anything that will bring about solutions to the problems that were envisaged when the rotation system was introduced.” 

He said the feeling among Upko members was that they wanted a power-sharing formula in Sabah that was sustainable and all communities would be treated fairly and “every one feels there is something for them.” 

On Thursday, Sabah Umno deputy chief Datuk Salleh Tun Said said the party would meet the state Barisan immediately after Hari Raya to work out “a new power sharing arrangement” ahead of the polls due by April. 

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said on Monday that the future of the rotation system had to be decided by Sabah Barisan and he would agree to any decision made by the state coalition. 

Sabah Umno Youth chief Datuk Tawfiq Abu Bakar Titingan said the movement’s stand on the issue had been consistent in that it has been calling for the scrapping of the system. 

“The rotation system is no longer relevant in Sabah’s stabilised political situation,” he said in a statement.  

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