Don’t make promises you can’t keep, says Upko chief to Zahid

(From left) Upko president Wilfred Madius Tangau, Warisan’s Kimanis by-election candidate Karim Bujang, de facto law minister Liew Vui Keong and Sabah Rural Development Minister Ewon Benedick at the Upko function in Membakut today.

KIMANIS: Upko president Wilfred Madius Tangau today cautioned Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi against making promises he is not likely to keep.

He said Zahid had promised to implement 100% of the terms of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) if Barisan Nasional recaptures Putrajaya in the next general election.

If that is the case, would Zahid be willing to remove Islam as the official religion of Sabah, Tangau asked.

“Matters related to MA63 are not something one should play with. Do not simply use the agreement to gain power again.

“Don’t play around, as one of the items related to the agreement which many Sabahans hold dear and, at the same time, is sensitive is that Sabah has no official religion,” he said at a party function near Membakut town today.

“In Sarawak, there is no official religion and this is stated in MA63, the agreement that made the federation of Malaysia possible.

“MA63 is based on 20 points, which are included in the Intergovernmental Committee Report and subsequently absorbed in the Sabah constitution.”

Despite there being no official religion in the state, the Sabah constitution was amended to make Islam the official religion in 1973, said Tangau, who urged Kimanis voters to ask Zahid if he truly understood the contents of MA63.

The deputy chief minister also defended the reasons why he brought Upko out of BN and switched allegiance to Warisan-PH after the 14th general election.

He said BN leaders had once accused Upko and its former president, Bernard Dompok, of being confrontational to BN and were told to leave in 2006.

“This was over the relocation of illegal immigrants from the Sri Tanjung squatter areas near the Kota Kinabalu International Airport to Maang in Penampang.

“The BN state government had decided to relocate them to Penampang without the consent of Dompok, who was then the Penampang MP, and this forced Upko to hold a demonstration against the government’s plan.”

He said Bung Moktar Radin, then chairman of the Sabah backbenchers in Parliament, held a meeting with all the state’s MPs, including Anifah Aman (Kimanis) and Rosnah Abd Shirlin (Papar), to call for Dompok to take Upko out of BN.

Tangau said the Sabah Umno leaders were “nothing but a bunch of bullies”.

Also present at the Upko event, attended by about 500 members from Kimanis, were de facto law minister Liew Vui Keong and Warisan’s Kimanis by-election candidate, Karim Bujang.