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PBS claims Umno, PAS' support to reinstate anti-hop law
Published on: Monday, November 18, 2019
By: Larry Ralon

PENAMPANG: PBS President Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili (pic), said it may be necessary to reinstate the Anti-Hop Law that ensured political stability in Sabah from 1988 until it was scrapped as unconstitutional when the party went on a collision course with the Federal Government in the 1990s.

He said the party’s lawyers have met with those from other opposition parties like Umno and PAS, all of who now support it. 

I will test first by taking action against those who deserted us. Next step is to do it both in Parliament and State Assembly during the next sitting. 

 “As a private members bill and we will see how it is,” he said. Tandek Assemblywoman Anita Baranting and Labuk Assemblyman, Abdul Rahman Kongkawan, ditched the party for Warisan Sabah recently.

 The scrapping of the Anti-Hop enabled then Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir’s Umno to expand to Sabah in 1990 and wrest control of the State Government from PBS through political frogging when elections were called in 1994. 

 The Anti-Hop Law required elected representatives (YBs) to first quit the seat and face a by-election if they wanted to defect to a rival party. However, the court viewed that these YBs enjoy the right of freedom of association to join any party, although the seat was won through support and funding by the party they were deserting.

 Constitutional Law expert Prof. Shad Sharuqi during a recent dialogue here noted that Sabah had become infamous for political frogging and opined that the court decision that ruled against the Anti-Hop Law was morally flawed.

  The present State Government was formed two days after Sabah Barisan Nasional led by incumbent Tan Sri Musa Aman was sworn in as chief minister, when BN component Upko and several Sabah Umno members defected to the then opposition dominated by Parti Warisan Sabah. Musa has since appealed against a High Court decision over the revocation of his earlier delayed appointment.

 On another resolution passed at its just-ended annual delegates conference on the Sabah Temporary Pass (PSS), Ongkili said so far a campaign against it has garnered 11,500 supporters, excluding those in the campaign organised at all its divisions. 

 “Altogether, there are about 13,000...we are still in the process of getting feedback from the divisions,” he said, adding it would officially write to Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad on the outcome of its resolution.

“I have already spoken on this in Parliament. I haven’t heard anyone else but Parti Warisan Sabah (Warisan) supporting it....everyone else, including non-governmental organisations are against it. We will push that as hard as we can,” he said. 

 He said the party’s stand  is that Kuala Lumpur has no unilateral power to implement a policy or regulation on migrants without formal consultation with the State. 

 “I do not know if Shafie (Sabah Chief Minister) has already signed any agreement. But if you do it in Sarawak, they will ask you to go fly a kite. 

“There the Sarawak Government will take it to its State Legislative Assembly first before anything. But here I don’t know.” 

On PBS Kiulu’s proposal for a solidarity council (majlis permuafakatan) for the party, Star and PBRS, Dr Ongkili said he had already said that PBS is open to cooperation, as it is within its constitution for a win-win collaboration among the opposition. 

“But to us, it is too early for that. We want to strengthen our divisions and branches, especially in areas where we are strong...in areas where we think we cannot win, don’t worry, we will not insist on it,” he said.   

Meanwhile, Ongkili said this was an opportune time for the Sabah Government to demand the promised 40 per cent revenue from tax collection to be returned to the state, especially since the announcement of an “unimpressive” Sabah State Budget.

 He said the 40 per cent revenue return was promised by  Parti Harapan in the last general elections and is also enshrined in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 and the Federal Constitution

 “Despite announcing a surplus budget, the total amount (of this year’s budget) is less than that in 2019,” he said, when asked to comment on the RM4.14 billion budget.

He said the expected revenue is also less than the 2019 receipts, due to less income from the palm oil sales tax, as well as decreased receipts from sales tax from lottery operations.

“The Government must outline strategies to expand income sources and fill the revenue gap.

“There also appears to be poor investments in key growth sectors to drive the economy, such as the tourism sector,” he noted.

 



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