PAPAR (SABAH): Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has reminded Umno members and the people of Sabah not to be influenced by an attempt by outsiders to “Brexit” Sabah from Umno and Barisan Nasional (BN).
Zahid said the action of these outsiders, including former state and national Umno leaders, was wrong and could have a negative impact on the people and the state of Sabah.
“If there are people from outside or those who used to be in BN, who try to get Sabahans out of the Umno and BN ring, they are wrong,” he said when opening the Umno Zone Three delegates’ conference at Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Bongawan near here today.
Also present were Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman, Foreign Minister Anifah Aman who is also Kimanis Umno chief, Papar Umno chief Abdul Rahim Ismail and Beaufort Umno chief Isnin Aliasni.
Brexit is an abbreviation for “British Exit”, referring to the United Kingdom’s decision in a June 23, 2016 referendum to leave the European Union (EU).
Zahid said some of the Brexit voters had regretted the move because the results were not as good as they had hoped for.
“Sabah does not want to be Malaysia’s ‘Brexit’. Sabah does not want BN and Umno to lose,” he said, adding that the people would have to deal with the consequences of such a move.
If Sabah leaves Umno and BN, the risk will be as high as what some previous state governments faced when they set up governments that were not in line with the federal government, he said.
Hence, he said the current political situation in Sabah, in which there was power-sharing among BN component parties, should be continued for political stability, even though the state legislative assembly seats would later be increased from 60 to 73.
“I hope our friends in BN will not put pressure on the chief minister. We hope that our friends in BN will negotiate accordingly. The important thing is not the allocation of seats but that Umno and BN can rule comfortably in Sabah,” he said.
Zahid was confident that the Umno-led BN government would be maintained despite the additional state seats because a study by Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) in 2016 revealed that 76% of Sabahans still wanted BN to continue the agenda to develop Sabah.
In fact, he said the research also showed that 71.2% of Sabahans felt BN had successfully transformed Sabah which proved that they still wanted Umno and BN to continue governing Sabah.
He also reminded Umno members and the people in Sabah to learn from the Tanduo incident in Lahad Datu and the militant attacks in Marawi, southern Philippines, and prevent such incidents from happening again.
Zahid, who is also home minister, said he would strengthen the Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCom) to ensure that the safety and stability of Sabah were preserved.