Sabah STAR backs Umno’s call for new Malaysia Agreement

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah STAR is backing Umno’s proposal for a new Malaysia Agreement to clearly define the federation involving Sabah, Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia.

Sabah STAR president Datuk Seri Dr Jeffrey Kitingan said Umno’s proposal for a “New Deal” at the recently concluded Barisan Nasional convention was in line with what his party had advocated to replace the Malaysia Agreement 1963.

He said a new agreement between Sabah, Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia would clearly define the status of each entity within the federation.

He said MA63 was signed on a different premise and at a period when Sabah and Sarawak did not have a voice to agree or disagree with any of the terms in the agreement.

“A new agreement is the only approach to address the question of Malaysia. I am glad that Barisan deputy chairman Datuk Seri Mohamad Hassan has mentioned a new agreement.

“However, I do not necessarily agree with his reasoning.

“For Sabah STAR, we want the new deal to allow us greater independence and freedom for us to move forward. Sabahans do not wish to be bound to Malaya’s (Peninsular Malaysia’s) agenda.

“When it comes to financial and development issues, Sabah and Sarawak must have the freedom to dictate our own future according to our own aspirations, not the federal’s,” said Kitingan after launching a programme for local leaders in interior Keningau on Sunday.

On Barisan’s statement that it would decide on its relations with Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS), Kitingan said it was Barisan’s right to decide its own political direction without coercion or influence from outside elements.

“For STAR, we are patient, and we are waiting to see what Sabah Barisan decides. We are not in a hurry, and we don’t want to jump the gun.

“It could have just been a political statement, I don’t know. I also could say that Sabah STAR has 10 options.

“But I do hope it is just a political statement,” he said, referring to Sabah Barisan chairman Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin’s statement that Barisan has five options on its relations with GRS at the state level.

Sabah STAR is part of a five-party GRS coalition in the state government with Barisan.

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