Anifah sidesteps new party query, focuses on MA63 instead

KOTA KINABALU: Former foreign minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman is sending out signals about forming a new Sabah-based party, but remained non-committal on his future plans since leaving Umno a month ago.

Heading back into his Kimanis home base on Friday (Oct 12), Anifah asked supporters if they would agree to him setting up a "rumah baru" (new house), to which he received an "approval" from some 800 supporters at Cento Centre in Kimanis about 60km from here.

"Apa kata kami bikin rumah baru (what do you say to building a new house)?" he asked the gathered crowd.

However, Anifah sidestepped the possibility of starting a new party and only said that he was still comfortable being an "independent" parliamentarian.

He said that for now, the promise to reinstate Sabah and Sarawak as equal partners in the federation of Malaysia by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was a positive step forward that they will support and closely monitor how it is implemented.

"We will give them time and we will watch closely," he said.

"I am sure all Sabah and Sarawak MPs will support it," he said, adding that they also want to see the terms of reference of the three steering, working and technical committees announced by the federal government to look into the lost rights of the states.

The committees approved by the federal Cabinet were announced by de facto law Minister Datuk V.K. Liew on Thursday (Oct 11).

"We will be watching closely on next week's Parliament session, and we are ready to support any bills to reinstate Sabah and Sarawak as equal partners," he added.

Anifah was with Sabah STAR president Datuk Sri Jeffrey Kitingan, Umno's Libaran MP Datuk Zakariah Edris and former Umno member turned independent Datuk Saddi Abdul Rahman (Sukau) and PBRS assemblyman Datuk Ellron Angin (Sook), as he returned to his home base in Kimanis for the first time since quiting Umno.

Anifah said the leaders' presence together was strictly for MA63 and had nothing to do with their future political plans.

Anifah said that he preferred to discuss and engage in issues of MA63 collectively, but if the current government was just using it as a political ploy, then he would look at other options.

He said most the technical issues revolving MA63 had been put in place, and hoped the present government would look at their findings and recommendations as a guide to fast track Sabah and Sarawak's rights.