Mahathir’s policy towards Sabah won’t change, local opposition parties warned


KOTA KINABALU: Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (STAR) president Jeffrey Kitingan has warned Sabahans that Dr Mahathir Mohamad will not change his attitude and policy towards the Bornean states.

Speaking to FMT, Jeffrey said he had been very close to the former prime minister and had spoken to him personally.

“Before I was arrested under the Internal Security Act in 1990, he told me what he wants from Sabah. He wants us to be just like Perlis where the federal government has power over all matters, including land matters.

“It would be unwise for Sabahans to put him back in power because whatever he is doing right now, it is only for him to get back at the current Umno leadership and regain the control of the Malay population,” he said.

This followed Mahathir’s remarks yesterday that Pakatan Harapan (PH) was confident of winning at least half of the parliamentary and state seats in Sabah with the help of Parti Warisan Sabah (Warisan).

Mahathir, who is chairman of PH and its component PPBM, also said the opposition coalition would rather work with local parties in the states as the people of Sabah and Sarawak are “territorial” and dislike domination by peninsular political parties.

Jeffrey said the opposition parties in the peninsula had no choice but to cooperate with each other despite their political and ideological differences as they had a common enemy.

He added that Mahathir was forced to use PPBM in order to take over from Umno.

“There is no difference between PPBM and Umno. Their principles are the same: Malay and Islamic supremacy.

“His policy towards Sabah and Sarawak remains the same. The only difference is, Mahathir is not in power at the moment,” he said.

According to him, Mahathir is only interested in uniting the Malays under one banner and preferably under his leadership.

However, he agreed that the opposition could win at least half of the parliamentary seats in Sabah, but only with the help of local parties including those in the state’s main opposition pact, Gabungan Sabah.

Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) president Yong Teck Lee meanwhile said Mahathir appeared to have forgotten that he was not exactly a popular figure in the state.

Yong, a former chief minister, also noted the irony of Mahathir’s efforts to topple Umno.

When asked about Mahathir’s prediction that the opposition would win half of Sabah’s parliamentary seats in the next election, Yong wished PH all the best.

“Congratulations to them, parti Malaya,” he said.