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Limiting Sabah CM’s tenure more important than changing title, says Armizan
Published on: Wednesday, May 15, 2024
By: FMT
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Limiting Sabah CM’s tenure more important than changing title, says Armizan
GRS deputy secretary-general Armizan Mohd Ali said setting a term limit for the chief minister’s post was more crucial than changing the title to ‘premier’. (Bernama pic)
PETALING JAYA: Amending Sabah’s constitution to limit the chief minister’s tenure to two terms of five years each is more important than a proposal to change the Sabah chief minister’s title to “premier”, says a Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) leader.

GRS deputy secretary-general Armizan Mohd Ali told FMT that setting a term limit for the chief minister would mitigate the risk of misconduct within the executive branch.

Armizan, who is also the domestic trade and cost of living minister, said the idea to limit the chief minister’s tenure to two terms of five years each was mooted by Sabah chief minister and GRS chairman Hajiji Noor at a GRS forum.

“This shows Hajiji’s commitment to reforms and better governance,” he said.

“Expediting an amendment to limit the chief minister’s maximum tenure to two terms, or 10 consecutive years, is far more important than merely changing the title of chief minister to ‘premier’.

“I hope the amendment can be prioritised, or done simultaneously, with the amendment to change the title.”

He suggested that “outstanding” and “effective” chief ministers who complete the two terms could return to govern Sabah if their parties were duly elected, provided that the leaders would first go through a “cooling-off period”.

Armizan did not specify the duration of this period.

Two bills to change the chief minister’s title to “premier” and to set a limit for the chief minister’s tenure to two terms in office are expected to be tabled in the state legislature in July.

A separate bill to replace the title of “assistant minister” with “deputy minister” is also expected to be tabled during the same session.

Armizan was responding to a statement on Saturday by Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (STAR) president Jeffrey Kitingan, who expressed support for the proposal to change the title of Sabah’s chief minister to “premier”.

Kitingan, who is also a Sabah deputy chief minister, welcomed the development and said it would help reflect Sabah’s status as a territory within Malaysia and its position as “equal partners” in the formation of Malaysia.

Several GRS components, including Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) and the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), have recently expressed support for the proposal to change the title of Sabah’s chief minister to “premier”.

Warisan, which is in the opposition in Sabah, has also backed these calls, with Sri Tanjong assemblyman Justin Wong and Tanjung Aru assemblyman Junz Wong stating that they had floated the same idea two years ago to emulate Sarawak.

Sarawak changed the title of “chief minister” to “premier” on Feb 15, 2022. It also changed the titles of “deputy chief minister” and “assistant minister” to “deputy premier” and “deputy minister” respectively.

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