OK for PPBM to enter, what’s key is getting back Sabah’s rights, says Upko

Upko vice-president Ewon Benedick says that nobody could stop PPBM from coming into Sabah.

KOTA KINABALU: The United Pasok Momogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (Upko) does not object to PPBM’s entry into Sabah but want Sabahans to judge the significance of the move.

Speaking to reporters here today, Upko vice-president Ewon Benedick said PPBM leaders were aware of the sentiment among its allies in Sabah, namely Warisan and Pakatan Harapan, as well as other parties in the state.

However, the state rural development minister agreed with chief minister and Warisan president Shafie Apdal that nobody could stop PPBM from coming in.

“We knew that in the end, they would come because some Sabahans asked for it. This is just like what had happened with Umno before too. The PPBM leaders didn’t want to come in but some Sabahans wanted them here.

Benedick said it was the right of certain elected representatives and their supporters to invite PPBM into Sabah.

“So, I think the people should think about this and judge for themselves,” he said.

Personally, Benedick said, he preferred the state to be governed by local parties.

The Sabah government is currently administered by a coalition of local parties – Warisan and Upko and national-based PH coalition partners PKR and the DAP.

“What is important is for us to harmonise our state administration and to ensure we have a good relationship with the federal government.

“We insist that the federal government keeps its promise to increase our oil royalty and return our rights under the Federal Constitution such as the right to get back the 40% net revenue derived by the federal administration from Sabah,” he said.

He said Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who is also PPBM chairman, had a chance to “redeem himself” this time around and prove that he could deliver what he failed to do during his first stint as prime minister.

“As the prime minister, he has the chance to keep his promise to Sabahans. Once PPBM comes in, then the people can see whether it will be able to help return our rights,” he said.