KOTA KINABALU: Parti Warisan Sabah (Warisan) secretary-general Loretto Padua Jr today accused Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) acting president Max Ongkili of “short-sightedness” and “selective memory”.
Ongkili had alleged that Warisan only knows how to talk about issues relating to illegal immigrants and Sabah’s rights.
Loretto said Ongkili may not have had access to print and social media or not paid attention during the Dewan Rakyat sessions.
“If he had, he would probably have known that Warisan deputy president Darell Leiking has been consistent on all these issues since 2013,” he said in a statement today.
He said Darell had tried to table the motion to debate the 1963 Malaysia Agreement (MA63) at the Dewan Rakyat so that all Sabah MPs could have the opportunity to air their aspirations on on the matter.
But, he said, the deputy speaker had turned down the motion as being a non-urgent matter.
“Is Max now telling us that the exclusive rights on issues relating to illegal immigrants and MA63 belong solely to BN state and federal ministers, particularly PBS?”
Loretto said Ongkili should have been thankful to vocal ordinary Sabahans, including Warisan, for voicing the concerns of the people.
He said these “stern and authoritative voices” had moved Prime Minister Najib Razak into granting permission for Ongkili to discuss MA63 last Saturday.
Loretto also took a swipe at Ongkili’s contention on PBS being the champion of Sabah’s rights and privileges.
“I want to ask him: Did he ever present the case of Labuan, which happened to be one of PBS’s core ‘struggles’ in the mid 1980s, to Najib following the lament by former chief minister Harris Salleh last year over the lack of attention by Max’s own federal ministry to develop the island and who believes Labuan should be returned to Sabah?”
The Warisan secretary-general also asked Ongkili if he had pursued relentlessly the review of Sabah’s petroleum royalty which also happens to be PBS’ core struggle since its inception.
“I want to ask Max, since the return of PBS to BN’s fold in 2002, how many times has he brought up the issue of petroleum royalties to former prime ministers Mahathir Mohamed and Abdullah Ahmad Badawi as well as Najib during their weekly cabinet meetings?
“What about during his informal discussions with Umno leaders?”
Loretto also chided Ongkili for saying that during Mahathir’s era, those who were vocal on Sabah’s rights would be detained.
“That is quite hypocritical on the part of Max to say so now, considering that both he and (deputy chief minister) Joseph Pairin Kitingan applied to rejoin Mahathir’s BN in 2001,” recounted Loretto.
“Could it have been that both Pairin and Max finally realised that during the years preceding 2001, PBS no longer commanded the authority in Sabah’s political scene that it used to have?
“The only way to ensure the political survival of PBS was to return to BN by using the 9/11 tragedy in the US as an excuse.
“Thus, whatever Max says about Mahathir now is irrelevant because of the fact that only through the consent of Mahathir was PBS allowed to rejoin BN.”
Earlier, local Sabah papers reported that Ongkili had slammed the opposition for claiming that PBS did nothing to champion Sabah’s rights.
He said illegal immigrants and Sabah’s MA63 rights have always been on the party’s agenda since its inception.
He accused some new parties of hijacking the issues as their own for political mileage now that the elections are just around the corner.