MCA grants further autonomy to its Sabah chapter

MCA president Wee Ka Siong meeting Sabah opposition leader Jeffrey Kitingan at the Sabah MCA Chinese New Year luncheon in Kota Kinabalu.

KOTA KINABALU: MCA has granted further autonomy to Sabah MCA, giving the state chapter more clout to decide on poll candidates and choosing its own allies.

MCA had already announced autonomy for administrative matters to Sabah MCA last September.

MCA president Wee Ka Siong said MCA wanted Sabah MCA to fully represent Sabah’s interests and decide matters on its own without interference from the central administration.

He added Sabah MCA was also free to choose parties it wished to form alliances with, as MCA is aware the political climate in Sabah is different from that in Peninsular Malaysia.

“I have given them full endorsement. But MCA headquarters will still be there to provide them guidance and training, especially in regard to practices like preparing for the upcoming 15th general election.

“We will now let Sabahans lead the state MCA without interference from the headquarters.

“We will also be increasing the Sabah representation in the party presidential council from three at present, so that Sabah leaders can raise more Sabah issues at the national level,” he told reporters after hosting the Sabah MCA Chinese New Year luncheon here today.

In announcing the expansion of the party’s autonomy, Wee said the Sabah MCA liaison chief’s post had been replaced with “chairman”.

Present at the event were Sabah MCA chairman Lu Yen Tung, Parti Bersatu Sabah supreme adviser Joseph Pairin Kitingan, Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku president Jeffrey Kitingan and Sabah Umno head Bung Moktar Radin, who is also Sabah Barisan Nasional chairman.

Bung has welcomed the granting of autonomy to Sabah MCA, drawing from Sabah Umno’s success in the Kimanis by-election in January.

Sabah Umno had been granted full autonomy by its headquarters last December, with Sabah leaders given full control over party affairs, election candidates and its direction.

“As a result, Sabah Umno has come out with good programmes.

“It was totally Sabah Umno’s ideas and programmes that led the party to the polls victory in Kimanis,” said Bung.

He said Sabah Umno remained open to working with any like-minded opposition parties and vowed to go all out to support candidates from parties friendly to Umno.