KOTA KINABALU: The youth wings of Sabah Democratic Action Party (DAP), Parti Warisan Sabah (Warisan), United Progressive Kinabalu Organisation (Upko) and Sabah Amanah have urged the political leaders and elected representatives of the country to support the call to appoint Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal as the Prime Minister candidate for the Pakatan Harapan Plus (PH Plus) coalition.
DAPSY chief Phoong Jin Zhe said that Shafie’s candidacy would serve as an opportunity for Sabah and Sarawak to reclaim its autonomy and its equal status, which were promised to them 57 years ago, when Malaysia was first formed.
He said that no one would have imagined that the two states would be left so far behind 57 years later and that the two states would not share the same wealth enjoyed by their Peninsula counterpart.
“This is not our partner’s fault, this is the fault of irresponsible political leaders who have side-lined Sabah and Sarawak,” said Phoong in a press conference at Warisan’s headquarters here at Kolombong on Tuesday.
He also said that Shafie’s candidacy would also solve the opposition’s prime minister candidacy impasse.
He opined that the recent flood that hit Sabah was yet another example of how the Federal Government had failed to take care of the East Malaysian states – stressing the fact that Sabah has yet to have proper basic infrastructure such as drainage systems, up till now.
Phoong further pointed out that Shafie is the best person who can solve the country’s longstanding racial and religious dilemma.
“At the same time, Shafie is also the leader who is much younger than the other prime minister candidates. He would always listen and lift the voices of the youths in Sabah,” added Phoong.
Also present were Warisan’s youth wing deputy chief Mohd Ismail Ayub, Upko youth chief Felix Joseph Saang and Amanah Sabah youth representative Mohd Khairuddin Daud.
Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) youth leaders were notably absent from the press conference.
“We have sent an invitation to PKR. However, up till now, we have yet to receive any ‘positive’ response from the AMK (youth wing) of PKR. They refused to turn up for this meeting.
“However, the discussion is still ongoing. We hope that we will reach an agreement and consensus with the AMK of PKR Sabah – to come on board and support Shafie to be the first ever Prime Minister from Sabah,” said Phoong when asked to comment on PKR’s absence.
Separately, on Pakatan Harapan youth secretary Razeef Rakimin’s claim that Shafie’s candidacy was actually part of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s ‘divide and rule’ tactic, Phoong clarified that any statements from the coalition must be endorsed by all parties.
“Without any endorsements, you should not use the name of Pakatan Harapan,” said Phoong, hinting that Razeef’s claim was not endorsed by the other members of the coalition.
Meanwhile, Ismail urged the politicians of the country to put aside their political differences and to give their support to Shafie.
“There is now a solution to the equal partner issue which has been raised by the leaders of Sabah and Sarawak for so long now. So why not?” asked Ismail.
“I would like to ask the leaders of Sabah, especially from Umno, Bersatu, PBRS and PBS to put aside their political differences … to put away their ego,” he added.
On the other hand, Felix said that appointing a Sabahan as the Prime Minister would give Sabah the opportunity to realise the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).
“There is no reason for the people of Sabah to refrain from giving their full support to a fellow Sabahan to helm the Prime Minister post,” said Felix.