Former Sabah rep defends Anifah over MA63 remarks

Former Petagas assemblyman James Ligunjang says Kimanis MP Anifah Aman managed to make MA63 a central issue during the general election.

KOTA KINABALU: A former assemblyman has defended Anifah Aman over the Kimanis MP’s statement that no Sabah federal ministers from the previous administration were willing to fight for the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).

Former Petagas assemblyman James Ligunjang said the former foreign minister did not actually say he was alone in fighting for MA63.

“He acknowledged that Sabah leaders since the ’70s had been fighting for the rights that are rightfully ours.

“He even acknowledged PBS and the rest and mentioned about how (STAR president) Jeffrey Kitingan even went to jail for trying to defend and fight for Sabah rights.

“What Anifah meant was that when he initiated a new forum to explain to the public on MA63 in 2015, with the vision of including all Sabah leaders regardless of political beliefs, the federal ministers from Sabah were initially not vocal in their support towards his efforts, probably for fear of reprisal by the federal government.

“However, when they were presented with the facts and realised that the struggle for MA63 received the blessings of the then prime minister Najib Razak, only then did all Sabah federal leaders became more vocal and supported our fight for Sabah rights in accordance with MA63,” he said in a statement here.

Warisan secretary general Loretto Padua Jr had said he was amused by the admission by Anifah that no Sabah federal ministers wanted to join him in the fight, claiming this confession meant the latter had a serious issue with credibility among former Sabah federal ministers.

Former federal minister Maximus Ongkili, who is PBS deputy president, also took issue with Anifah’s stand, saying the statement was “inaccurate and misleading.”

Ligunjang said Padua was merely “bent on sowing seeds of discord and disunity among Sabahans” in their struggle to restore the sanctity of the MA63.

“There is no question about what Anifah has contributed. Everyone in Sabah knows and acknowledges Anifah’s contribution not only to Sabah but to Malaysia at the international front.

“We should be thankful for the efforts of Anifah who managed to get MA63 as the central issue during the recent general election with promises from every contesting party to honour the contents of MA63, including Warisan.

“It’s time to walk the talk and not the time to twist facts for a political advantage. The future of Sabah is more important than that of a political party,” he said.