PETALING JAYA: It is not right to say that the Sabah state government lacks the political will to engage Putrajaya in talks over the state's autonomy under the Malaysia Agreement, said Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) secretary general Datuk Johnny Mositun.
"The state government has already responded to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s request for us to forward our recommendations to Putrajaya," said Mositun.
He added that Sabah's approach is a little different from that of Sarawak's, but the points of discussion are very similar.
Mositun also said that discussions between Kota Kinabalu and Putrajaya were more subdued and did not receive publicity at every point as the Sabah Barisan Nasional administration was also Umno-led.
“It goes without saying that our negotiations with Putrajaya will be less volatile and much more cordial. Both the Prime Minister and Datuk Seri Musa Aman are senior UMNO leaders, which makes things much easier to discuss matters without rancour or mistrust," said Mositun.
He said the main thrust of these discussions centred on restoring the state’s autonomy as per the Malaysia Agreement, revenue sharing, the devolution of decision-making and administrative powers, Borneonization of the Civil Services and avoiding arbitrary imposition of new legislation.
“It can be summed up as ‘decentralization’ on a larger and more meaningful scale that will give the state a bigger say in managing our own economy, planning and implementing development projects and public spending,” said Mositun.
He said that Najib was fully committed to upholding his promises to Sabah and Sarawak, and advised Sabahans not to be unduly influenced by negative and speculative reports in the alternative media.
"PBS wants proper guidelines, and observance of these guidelines, so that BN will not become embroiled in ‘quarrels’ within its ranks," he said.
Mositun cited the Kadamaian seat as a good example of such disputes.
"This is a PBS seat. When we lost it to the Opposition, other BN components tried to sell the idea that they can do better in the next election and should be given this seat. Such issues can be avoided only with proper guidelines on power-sharing and other matters within BN" said Mositun.