Thursday, March 04, 2010

Yong: Don't believe what Pakatan leaders said

Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) has asked the people in the state not to place too much weight in recent appeals made by top Pakatan Rakyat leaders for Sabah to "take the lead".

"They don't consider Sabah as leaders in national matters," SAPP president Yong Teck Lee said.

yong-teck-leeHe pointed out that national leaders tend to praise each state that they visit and recalled that some of these leaders said the same thing in Sarawak.

"When they speak in Sabah, they do so with a tinge of patronising approach," he observed.

"This means," he told the Malaysian Mirror in a statement Thursday, "we (Sabahans) do not have to put too much weight in their appeal for Sabah to take the lead."

Yong was asked to give his views on appeals made by advisors of PKR and DAP (Anwar Ibrahim and Lim Kit Siang) in their speeches at the Pakatan Chinese New Year open house here last Sunday.

Both national opposition leaders had called on the people of Sabah to take the lead in the change of government, both at the state and central levels.

Boosting electoral chances

The SAPP president, who was a guest at the function held at SM Kian Kok, noted that top national leaders from PR and the Barisan Nasional are visiting many states in the Peninsula, Sarawak and Sabah.

"I think each grouping is trying to boost their electoral chances. This is not unique to Sabah," observed Yong, who was chief minister for two years underthe BN's rotation system for te chief minister's post.

When asked whether Sabah and Sarawak have become "king makers" in Malaysian politics, Yong stated that this was not the case.

"The king makers remain at Putrajaya and Kuala Lumpur, where the national leaders decide how the next elections play out for either the PR or BN."

He, nevertheless, said that if Sabah and Sarawak "want to be" the king makers, they already are, after the March 2008 general election.

Yong (centre) being welcomed on his arrival at Pakatan"s CNY event on Feb 28.

"This is because the BN could not form a Federal government without the support of these two states," Yong explained.

"Without the MPs from Sabah and Sarawak, BN cannot form the government. But our local leaders are subservient."

Speaking at a press conference in the state capital prior to his return to KL last Sunday, Anwar also reaffirmed his party's position to fight the BN one-on-one in the next general election.

"Our experience has taught us to compromise with each other to fight the BN and it depends on the state party to negotiate," Anwar explained.

Touching on this matter, Yong is of the opinion that every non-BN party wants a one-on-one fight with the BN.

Principle of autonomy

He said, however, that it is left to be seen how the PR resolve their internal arrangements in Sarawak where state elections are expected soon.

"And, in Sarawak, the PR has several tiers of leaderships to contend with. If PR accepts the principle of autonomy, then that is a good start to discuss seat sharing."

Asked whether the declared intention of SAPP to stand in 40 state constituencies in the next elections in Sabah would pose any problem with the PR, Yong has this reply:

"The three parties of PR have more than 100 state assemblymen. For SAPP to have 40 seats should not be an issue, if they accept autonomy."

SAPP leaders have made repeated calls on the people to return Sabah the political autonomy that it once enjoyed before.

Yong disclosed that he had personally discussed this matter of seat sharing and the one-on-one election strategy with PKR vice president Azmin Ali and "a few others in PKR" in 2008 and 2009. - Malaysian Mirror

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