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Different approach on Sabah rights
Published on: Sunday, January 14, 2018

Penampang: The State Barisan Nasional fights for Sabah rights just as any other party that claims to champion it.

Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak said while other parties tend to be more vocal and at times take a confrontational approach on the issue, the ruling coalition opts to discuss it in a family spirit.

"To me, this is not an issue that's exclusively fought by the opposition. It's everyone's fight.

We, in the BN, are also fighting for Sabah rights but our approach has been to discuss it as a family.

"We believe this is a more appropriate approach because we didn't achieve our independence through bloodshed but through a negotiation process. So now, whenever there are problems, we discuss.

There's no use fanning hatred," he told reporters at the Holy Nativity Parish's New Year 2018 open house in Kampung Terawi, Saturday.

Salleh said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, himself, has given the assurance that the Federal Government was willing to discuss with Sabah and restore any of its rights under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) that might have been eroded over the years.

"He's the first Prime Minister who maintains an openness about this issue," he said. In his closing speech at the 71st Umno general assembly in December, Najib reportedly said if the federal government had taken rights of the State that it should not have, it would return them.

Salleh said this is proof of the Government's commitment in wanting to resolve the issue amicably as opposed to other parties that fan hatred among the people by telling them that they have been oppressed.

He said while opposing opinions are normal in politics, harm can be done in society when certain parties take an extreme stance especially in sensitive matters such as religion and race.

"Obviously, they're taking this approach to split the society for their own political advantage," he said, adding that race and religious harmony in Sabah must be strongly defended by the people against elements that try to destroy it.

According to him, the people know better that when the time comes to elect a government in the next General Election, they will choose one that can ensure stability, provide development opportunities and guarantees a solid future for the country.

He expressed confidence that the people in Sabah will give the BN their mandate as it has a strong and proven track record in delivering the goods, mainly due to the good work relationship between Chief Minister Tan Sri Musa Aman and Najib.

He said he respected the right of the opposition parties including Parti Warisan to win the hearts of the people but come the general election, he believed they will make the right choice. "I was with (Parti Warisan President) Datuk Seri Shafie (Apdal) in the same flight and he told me he was going to Tamu Darat. He has the right.

But for us in Kota Belud, our choice will always be the BN," said Salleh.

At the event where he arrived by riding on a bamboo raft along the Moyog River from a nearby village, Salleh announced that the Federal Government had approved a total of RM600,000 for the Holy Nativity Church to meet some repair and compound sealing expenses. The event was jointly organised by the parish, Kadazandusun Cultural Association (KDCA) Youth Council and Umno/BN Penampang.

Also present were Penampang Umno division chief Datuk John Ambrose, his deputy Datuk Hasnol Ayub, Penampang BN chairman Datuk Donald Mojuntin, KDCA Youth Council chairman Caesar Mandela Malakun, Penampang Umno Wanita chief Noraini Idris and Penampang District Officer Luvita Koisun. - Leonard Alaza

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