Reclaim Sandakan for local party, Jeffrey says ahead of by-election

The Sandakan constituency is gearing up for a by-election next month to replace Sabah DAP chief Stephen Wong. (Bernama pic)

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah opposition leader Jeffrey Kitingan has urged voters in Sandakan to reclaim the seat which he says rightfully belongs to a local-based party, ahead of the by-election there on May 11.

“The MP seats in Sabah belong to Sabah as constitutional safeguards to protect state rights from being eroded or taken away.

“Giving away Sabah MP seats means surrendering our political and legislative rights to Malaya, losing our constitutional safeguards and weakening our bargaining position,” the Keningau MP said at the launch of Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku’s party machinery in Penampang near here yesterday.

He added that Peninsular Malaysia already has 166 parliamentary seats through DAP and other peninsula-based political parties.

“We must not give our own Sabah MP seats to Malayan parties as we only have 25 compared to their 166,” he said.

Jeffrey, who is also Tambunan assemblyman, said the past 11 months have shown that peninsula-based parties in Sabah, including DAP, cannot be relied on to guard state rights.

He said such parties had failed to deliver on their election promises, as well as to return what rightfully belongs to Sabah despite the constitutional provision that Sabah is entitled to 40% net revenue from the federal government.

“Sabah is our homeland. Sabahans need to look after it, and cannot rely on outsiders to protect and safeguard it.

“We Sabahans need to take back control. We need to take back the keys to our own house, and not surrender to outside parties.”

He said the Chinese in Sabah and Sarawak enjoy a unique position as they have special rights not given to other Chinese in the peninsula, such as the 40% revenue entitlement.

“The rights and privileges of Sabah in Malaysia are available to all Sabahans, irrespective of race, religion or creed.

“The time has come for Sabahans, especially the Chinese in Sabah and specifically in Sandakan now, to think about their future generations and safeguard them,” Jeffrey said.

The Sandakan by-election will see a five-cornered fight between DAP’s Vivian Wong, PBS vice-president Linda Tsen and three independents, Hamza Abdullah, Chia Siew Yung and Sulaiman Abdul Samat.

The seat became vacant following the death of Sabah DAP chief Stephen Wong, the incumbent MP, on March 28.