September 17, 2010, Friday
KOTA KINABALU: Top leaders from Pakatan Rakyat (PR) have pledged to grant autonomy to Sabah if the opposition coalition comes to power in the country.
PKR de factor leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang and Nasharudin Mat Isa of PAS also said a PR coalition government would also accord political independence to Sabah.
They made the pledge during a special gathering here on Wednesday, the eve of Malaysia Day where they formally launched the Pakatan Sabah.
The inception of Pakatan Sabah, said Anwar, marked the start of granting Sabah full autonomy to manage itself within Malaysia, a demand that Malaysians in Sabah have relentlessly been making since gaining independence 47 years ago in 1963.
“Sabah affairs will be determined by Sabah,” he said, adding that the coalition would not in any way condone nor tolerate abuse of power or corrupt practice.
He also said Pakatan is committed to defending the constitutional rights of all Malaysians, unlike the Umno-led Barisan Nasional coalition which is still defending the NEP, which essentially benefits only a certain race or ethnic group in the country.
Anwar also cautioned the people of the worsening political and socio-economic situation in the country under the 53 years of BN rule.
“The people have the voice and power …our understanding is not race but justice for all,” he said.
Some 1,000 people turned up for the event which was held at the Putera Theatre Ballroom, Bukit Padang.
Anwar said that a victory over the ruling BN coalition in the coming general election would be a victory for the people and not any individual political party.
He also said meritocracy is important for the country to progress and to be able to compete with the rest of the world.
But he assured that the poor and needy would not be neglected as it is the duty of the government to protect them.
Anwar is convinced that the Sabah Pakatan Rakyat secretariat will help consolidate the opposition coalition to better develop the state.
Present at the function were Penang Deputy Chief Minister Mansor Othman, PKR vice-president Azmin Ali, DAP MPs Lim Lip Eng (Segambut) and Teo Nie Ching (Serdang), Sabah DAP chief-cum-MP for Kota Kinabalu Dr Hiew King Cheu, its deputy chief-cum-Sri Tanjung assemblyman Jimmy Wong, and its publicity secretary Dr Edwin Bosi.
Also present were Sabah PKR senior leaders including Ahmad Thamrin Jaini, Jeffrey Kitingan, Ansari Abdullah, and Christina Liew.