It is ironical that Beaufort MP Lajim Ukin who has been indecisive over quitting Sabah Umno should accuse STAR of being without a clear direction.
Lajim’s comment is somewhat confusing considering the fact that he has been shifting his political alignment for sometime now.
Many political pundits here are of the view that the “power broker” – together with Tuaran MP Wilfred Bumburing – is playing “tarik tali” with the BN top leadership following speculations of a shake-up in the state Barisan Nasional line-up of candidates.
Bumburing had also reportedly expressed similar sentiments of “confusion” over STAR’s direction.
STAR chairman Jeffrey Kitingan in a curt statement today said the party’s direction “is crystal- clear”.
‘STAR’s direction is crystal-clear. [In fact, we are] the clearest among all the parties in Sabah.
“STAR Sabah seeks the restoration of Sabah as one of three equal partners in Malaysia and its struggle is made clear with the Borneo Agenda and its seven core demands.
“Sabah and Sarawak did not join Malaysia as the 12th and 13th states.
“If Lajim [or Bumburing] is not clear and does not understand the direction and struggle of STAR for Sabah, he is most welcome to discuss with me or any of our divisional leaders who are all well- versed with STAR’s direction and the Borneo Agenda,” he said.
‘Time to leverage’
Jeffrey expressed regret that both Lajim and Bumburing were still unclear about how to go about with their leadership direction and struggle for Sabah.
“If Lajim finds it in his heart to defend the position of Sabah as an equal partner of three entities with its own autonomy and special rights, he should work with STAR and join our struggle to restore these rights and not fall into the same trap as before with the politics and agenda of the peninsular parties,” he said.
Jeffrey said that if lawmakers (like Lajim and Bumburing) in Sabah and Sarawak had been daring enough to demand for the restoration of Sabah and Sarawak rights in 2008, then the Barisan Nasional-led federal government would have been forced to negotiate with the states.
“In fact, since 2008 if the lawmakers in Sabah and Sarawak had dared to switch camps, it would have resulted in the change of the federal government.
“The window of opportunity for Sabah and Sarawak to leverage their role as kingmakers will remain and is unlikely to be changed in the forthcoming 13th general election,” he said.
“The problem is the Umno-BN federal government refuses to acknowledge the status of Sabah under the Malaysia Agreement as an equal partner to Malaya and is entitled to its revenue collections.
“The problem is compounded by the refusal and inaction of the Umno-BN government to correct the injustice done to Sabah,” Jeffrey said, pointing out that a Pakatan government will make little difference to the current scenario.
He said the Pakatan manifesto, which pledges to “restore autonomy to Sabah and Sarawak in line with and within the framework of the Federal Constitution and the Federation Agreement” is no different from that now under Umno-BN regime because under the present Federal Constitution, Sabah is one of 13 states in Malaysia.