Sabah Pakatan to propose English as state's second official language

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Pakatan Harapan leaders will be proposing English as Sabah’s second official language and to re-set up the Malaysia Agreement Inter-Government Committee (IGC) in the coming state assembly meeting here this month.

Kadamaian assemblyman Datuk Ewon Benedick (Upko) and Luyang assemblyman Phoong Jin Zhe (DAP) said the proposals had been handed over to the State Assembly Speaker earlier Friday (July 8).

"We believe these proposals are important as they are related to the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) and the Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) 1962 report," he said in a statement.

He said making English as Sabah’s second official language would also help the people be more progressive and competitive through the mastering of the international language.

Ewon said the proposal to re-set up the IGC to restudy on the MA63 implementation was also among the components mentioned in the IGC report 1963 and MA63.

"We believe these matters need to be brought up and decided in the state assembly meeting to defend the rights of Sabahans as per MA63," he said.

He said the matters above were some of Sabah’s main priorities to look at relating to MA63, following various views and suggestions on the MA63 including a proposal to come up with a new Malaysia Agreement.

The proposal to come up with a new Malaysia Agreement was mentioned by several leaders including Barisan Nasional deputy chairman Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan.

He had recently suggested that the Sabah Barisan leadership propose a New Malaysia Agreement as a more concrete way forward towards realising the state's rights and demands enshrined under MA63.

On this, Ewon said there was no need for a whole new MA63 deal to be made but instead, the points in the existing agreement should be fulfilled.

"As leaders chosen by the people, we will not hesitate to take this matter, including the 40% revenue claim, to court," he said.

He also hopes that the state government would touch on programmes or solutions to ease the rising cost of living at present.

Ewon said the people deserve a proper explanation on why everything from essential goods to construction and agriculture materials are getting pricier.

"Items like cooking oil which are supposed to be easy to get, seeing that Sabah is an oil producing state itself, are difficult to come by in some shops. Why is this so?" he asked.

"Why is it that the cost of vegetables from the farms cannot be raised when the cost of plantation essentials like fertilizers have spiked?," he asked.

Ewon said these are just some of the pressing issues that needed to be addressed in the state assembly meeting scheduled from July 18 to July 21.

On other matters, he said they have previously proposed for the setting up of an Economic Recovery Council which includes leaders from all blocks of parties including the opposition, but have fallen on deaf ears.

"Therefore, we hope to raise these matters in the assembly meeting later this month," he said, in hopes that the meeting sessions would be extended by at least a day and a half to discuss and solve issues that are affecting the people.

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