More powers for Sabah Umno, says Zahid ahead of Kimanis polls

Umno and Barisan Nasional chief Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

KIMANIS: From oil royalty to civil service, Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has promised full autonomy to its Sabah chapter ahead of the Kimanis by-election this month.

Zahid said the autonomy, on top of wider powers to Sabah Umno granted in November last year, would allow the state party leadership to pursue the implementation of the Malaysia Agreement 1963, the state’s demand for higher oil royalty, federal allocations, as well as for more Sabahans to be appointed in the civil service.

“This is Umno’s commitment to Sabah Umno. We don’t take lightly of this matter as it involves the sensitivities of all Sabahans, their beliefs and ethnic groups,” he told a gathering at Kampung Pimping, Membakut, here.

He said Sabah Umno already has autonomy in matters of choosing election candidates and the chief minister.

“They also decide on projects which only the Sabahans know whether to be prioritised or not.”

He said if Umno were to return to federal power, it would ensure all allocations for the state are channeled to the state coffers.

Zahid, the BN chairman, is in Sabah to campaign for the coalition’s candidate in Kimanis, Mohamad Alamin.

The federal seat has been a BN stronghold, which it won four terms through former foreign minister Anifah Aman. It was declared vacant after the Federal Court’s recent decision to nullify his victory in the 2019 general election.

Zahid said while he understood the government’s constraints to meet Sabah’s demands, Pakatan Harapan would not be able to fulfil the state’s requests.

“What we are offering is genuine autonomy,” he added.