Join PPBM if you want, but prioritise MA63, Anifah tells ex-Umno members in Sabah

Kimanis MP Anifah Aman, the first Sabah MP to quit Umno after GE14. (Bernama pic)

KOTA KINABALU: Kimanis MP Anifah Aman says he has no objection to PPBM’s entry to Sabah but has urged his former Umno colleagues to work towards the restoration of the state’s rights under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) if they join the party.

The former foreign minister said they would then be part of the federal set-up, with direct access to Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad. Accordingly, they should place matters relating to Sabah at the top of their agenda, he said.

“Mindful of my respect to the democracy inherent in our system, I have no objection to PPBM’s entry to Sabah. Ultimately, it is the people of Sabah who will decide on the party that best represents their interests and that of the state.

“But I urge my former colleagues in Sabah who want to join PPBM to ensure that MA63 is their main priority,” he told FMT.

Citing his experience under the Barisan Nasional (BN) administration, he said Sabah could only reclaim its rights through a cordial relationship with Putrajaya.

“It is imperative for us to work with the central government in order to achieve our objectives.

“We need to fight for what is rightly ours, but this should be done through consultation, not confrontation,” he added.

Former Sabah Umno chief Hajiji Mohd Noor previously said over 100,000 ex-Sabah Umno members, including MPs and assemblymen, had applied to join PPBM.

Hajiji led an exodus of senior state Umno leaders including five MPs, nine assemblymen, two senators and a host of division chiefs last December. One of the assemblymen, Musbah Jamli (Tempasuk), joined Warisan last month.

Anifah, who maintains he is still an independent, reiterated what he called the urgent need to implement MA63 to allow Sabahans equal involvement in the country’s development.

“The states in the peninsula are fairly developed while we are still facing challenges in developing Sabah due to the failure to fulfil the terms of MA63,” he said.

Anifah was the first Sabah MP to quit Umno in the wake of BN’s election defeat last year.