First DPM from East M'sia ushers in era of greater recognition, says GRS youth leader

KOTA KINABALU: The appointment of the country’s first Deputy Prime Minister from East Malaysia indicates that Sabah and Sarawak are gaining stronger recognition as a political force in the country, says a Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) youth leader.

Penampang GRS Youth chief and political secretary to the Chief Minister, Ceasar Mandela Malakun (pic), said this also signalled the rise of the Borneo states in national politics.

Gabungan Parti Sarawak’s (GPS) Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof has been named one of the two Deputy Prime Ministers in Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s new Federal Cabinet line-up.

Mandela said although it had to take 10 prime ministers to get to this stage, it marked the start of something new in the country.

ALSO READ: Fadillah Yusof creates history, first East Malaysian appointed as DPM

“Anwar is the first Prime Minister in the country to give due recognition to East Malaysia. It’s a positive step in respecting Sabah and Sarawak, especially since both regions are partners in the federation of Malaysia. Both regions have actually come very far to (get to) this point,” he said here on Sunday (Dec 4).

He said despite some people in Sabah political circles expressing unhappiness with the lack of state representation in Anwar’s Cabinet, he suggested that people should consider the bigger picture.

“I think we should look at Fadillah’s appointment through the lens of the Borneo bloc. Therefore, it’s something that we all should be proud of.

“It really means a lot to us that one of us in Borneo is now the Deputy Prime Minister. We could only dream of this under past prime ministers,” he said.

ALSO READ: Being appointed DPM a recognition for GPS, Borneo bloc, says Fadillah

He believes this is just the start of the “Borneo journey” and that Sabahans and Sarawakians can look forward to positioning themselves stronger as a bloc in national politics in the near future.

Mandela said the political narrative surrounding the belief that Sabah and Sarawak could be kingmakers has now become stronger.

He said the time will come when Sabah and Sarawak would enjoy being truly equal partners as envisaged when they joined in the formation of Malaysia in 1963.

“In politics, nothing is impossible. So, let’s never lose sight of the bigger prize. It’s not about Cabinet posts but about Borneo’s position in Malaysian politics,” he said in congratulating Fadillah on his appointment.

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