Anifah to form new party in Sabah

Former foreign minister Anifah Aman resigned from Umno to become an independent in September. (Bernama pic)

KOTA KINABALU: Former foreign minister Anifah Aman is set to form a new Sabah-based party with the rights under Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) at the forefront of its struggle.

Sources close to the Kimanis MP told FMT that Anifah did not wish to join any national party owing to his past experience of being handicapped in pursuing Sabah rights when with a national party.

Anifah is also the chairman of a group called MySabah whose objective is to restore Sabah’s rights under MA63. Among the members are Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (STAR) president Jeffrey Kitingan and Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) president Yong Teck Lee.

The source said Anifah believed the leadership of national parties tend to be more concerned with the interests of its members and leaders in the peninsula rather than the interests of the people in Sabah and Sarawak.

“It feels stifling to discuss anything about MA63 in a national party. Hence, his decision to establish a local Sabah-based party that will meet the aspirations of the people of Sabah and Sarawak,” the source revealed.

Anifah, who resigned from Umno to become an independent in September, has always said he wanted to see the original spirit and intention of MA63 to be honoured and implemented sincerely as the foundation for a progressive and united Federation of Malaysia, as envisaged by the founding fathers in 1963.

He believed the implementation of MA63 can no longer be ignored because it is the foundation of Sabah and Sarawak to progress and enjoy certain elements of parity with the peninsula in terms of development.

The source said Anifah is supportive of the call made by the Sarawak government to establish a consultative committee, comprising the peninsula, Sabah and Sarawak.

“He believes that the consultative committee will serve as an opportunity for the signatories of MA63 to review and evaluate whether the spirit and intention of the agreement has been achieved or otherwise and recommend measures to assist in achieving its various objectives.

“Anifah recognises the importance of the federal government in developing the country and will support its efforts and policies to achieve these objectives for the betterment of the people of the Federation of Malaysia,” the source said.

Recently, rumours were rife that PPBM, led by Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, would be spreading its wings to Sabah next year, having recently launched its chapter in Sarawak.

However, the source said Anifah is of the opinion that Sabahans and Sarawakians would prefer a local-based party rather than a national party to represent them in Parliament as local parties know what is best for the people here.

“Besides, it will not be attractive to Sabahans for PPBM to expand in Sabah,” the source said.

During an event in October, Anifah hinted he could build a “new house” as his political platform and denied rumours he will be joining Warisan.

On Wednesday, 30 Sabah Umno leaders announced their decision to quit the party to become independent and suggested they could be joining a new party although they did not dismiss the possibility of joining PPBM.

However, Star Online later reported Anifah as brushing aside the reports of him forming a new party.

“I have not thought about it yet. I am enjoying my retirement.”

He said he is now taking a wait-and-see approach as there were many things happening in politics.

“There are just too many people jumping all over,” he said in apparent reference to Umno leaders and reps leaving the party.

He also dismissed speculation that he was joining PKR.