Usno de facto leader Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia said it was time to move forward and present fresher commitments to the people that would put Sabah in a more prominent position within Malaysia.
“In 1961, Usno fought for North Borneo to be independent of British colonisers but in 2020, we want Sabahans to be given the same rights and privileges as those enjoyed by people in Peninsular Malaysia,” he said at the party’s manifesto launch yesterday.
He added that Usno’s “new deal” was not based on Malaysia Agreement 1963 because he regarded MA63 a “done deal” as the agreement’s purpose was for the formation of a new nation.
“Part of Usno’s new deal is to ensure Sabahans play a more prominent leadership role at the federal level,” he said.
Pandikar Amin, who is contesting the Pintasan seat in Kota Belud, said this would include having Sabahans or Sarawakians assume senior positions in the government such as the deputy prime minister or take on heavier responsibilities such as in finance or rural development.
“Why must these positions be given only to those from Peninsular Malaysia?” asked the former Dewan Rakyat Speaker.
Separately, Pandikar Amin said the family of Usno founder Tun Mustapha Harun should be thanking new Usno leaders for reminding Sabahans of the struggle that he once led.
“We never intended to offend the family when we used his image in our materials. Our intention is to remind Sabahans of the sacrifices of past leaders. His family should be thanking us,” he said.
Pandikar Amin was responding to a statement by Mustapha’s son Datuk Amir Kahar advising the new Usno leadership to refrain from using any images of his father in the party’s campaign materials.
Amir Kahar, who is contesting as an independent candidate in Banggi, said the family did not want Mustapha’s image to be used for political mileage.
Another political party, Parti Cinta Sabah, also launched its manifesto consisting of seven main points.
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