KOTA KINABALU: All political parties from Peninsular Malaysia will have to cease their presence in Sabah if they are sincere about returning Sabah and Sarawak’s status as equal partners, said Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP).
Its president Yong Teck Lee said it was only logical for Peninsular parties to “close shop” in Sabah because once Sabah’s status is recognised under the constitution, it automatically followed that the Sabah chapters of parties with headquarters based in Kuala Lumpur will also be equal in status with the same parties in the Peninsular.
“For instance, Sabah MCA and Sabah DAP must be equal in status to their parent parties in Malaya (Peninsular Malaysia).
“Sabah PKR and Sabah PAS must also be equal in status with their counterparts in Malaya.
“It is no longer justifiable for these federal parties to appoint Sabah chapters, which are treated just like any of their chapters in Perlis or Malacca, or other states,” he said.
At the same time, Yong said it was inconceivable that these federal parties would recognise their Sabah chapters to be equal with their parent bodies.
He said it would only be a matter of time, sooner rather than later, that these federal parties in Sabah will fall out of favour with Sabahans and Sarawakians.
Hence, he said equal status for Sabah and Sarawak will lead to the eventual closure of Malayan parties in Sabah.
“SAPP welcomes and fully supports the announcement of Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad that Sabah and Sarawak will regain its status, equal to Malaya, in accordance with the spirit, letter and intent of the Malaysia Agreement 1963.
“PPBM, led by none other than Mahathir himself, is showing the way for other federal parties to respect and adhere to MA63 by not branching out into Sabah.
“PPBM is also the only major federal party that has refrained from establishing itself in Sabah,” he said.
Yong said if federal parties like PKR, MCA, DAP, MIC and Umno refused to leave, they would have to amend their party constitutions to accord equal status for their Sabah and Sarawak chapters.
Only then would they be seen to be sincere and respect MA63 and give equal status for Sabah and Sarawak with the Peninsular, he said.
Meanwhile, sources within Parti Harapan Rakyat Sabah (PHRS) said the party is trying to bring PPBM into Sabah, with party president Lajim Ukin recently seen at a PPBM event.
PHRS was one of four parties in the Gabungan Sabah (GS) coalition, which also includes SAPP, Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (STAR) and Parti Perpaduan Rakyat Sabah (PPRS), during the last general election.
Lajim brought the party out of the coalition after the election and announced that PHRS would now align itself with the Pakatan Harapan government.
In the past, Mahathir had said that PPBM would not be spreading its wings to Sabah as Warisan was already in the state along with other PH parties.
PPBM has already set up its branches in neighbouring Sarawak.