Sabah Umno will pick candidates, CM under new deal, says Zahid

Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (third from left) with Sabah Umno chief Bung Moktar Radin (back row, to Zahid’s right) and other Umno members as well as PAS and MCA guests in Kota Kinabalu today.

KOTA KINABALU: Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi today announced that Sabah Umno will be officially granted its long-awaited autonomy during the party’s general assembly this Nov 13.

Zahid said with the new authority, Sabah Umno would be able to select its own election candidates in future. He said this was part of the party’s “new deal” offer to Sabahans.

“And if we get to form the new government, Sabah Umno will even be allowed to decide who the chief minister will be,” he said to applause during the Sabah Umno convention here today.

“We have to create something new. This has never been done before — that autonomy is given to Sabah to govern for the Sabahan people.

“This is not rhetoric. It will be up to Sabah Umno at the grassroots, division and state levels to translate this privilege and achieve success,” added the Bagan Datuk MP.

Zahid also said the Malaysia Agreement 1963 would be the basis of its struggle to win back Sabah, adding what belonged to Sabah and Sarawak should be returned to both states.

“During the Malaysia Day celebration in Kuching recently, Sabah’s anthem was not even played and the chief minister was not given the opportunity to give a speech.

Sabah Umno chief Bung Moktar Radin (third from left) welcoming Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to the convention.

“God willing, with a new government in Putrajaya and in Kota Kinabalu, we will fully deliver the promises under MA63 and the 20-Point Agreement,” he said.

Earlier, Zahid outlined three other aspects, besides the new deal, to Sabahans as part of the rebranding of the party to win over Sabahans.

This involved the potential Umno has in the state, Sabah’s resources and how the party can deliver the needs of the state when it forms the government in future.

Zahid said Sabah had been given the honour to hold the first Umno convention in the country.

“This is the recognition and priority given to Sabah, which was agreed to in the previous Umno assembly,” he said.

He said the party’s constitution would be amended to reflect Sabah Umno’s autonomy at the general assembly in November.