KOTA KINABALU: An Umno leader has joined Chief Minister Shafie Apdal in opposing the revival of the Sabah Federal Development Department, saying it goes against the state’s long-term efforts to achieve autonomy.
Umno Supreme Council member and Tuaran party chief Abdul Rahman Dahlan said the previous Barisan Nasional government had scrapped the federal department following demands that all development should come under the state government’s purview.
“The suggestion to revive the department goes against our long-term plan to provide freedom and autonomy to Sabah.
“Although the Warisan-led Sabah government is now the opposition at the national level, and I understand why the suggestion to revive the department was made, such a move will go against the call for autonomy,” Rahman said here today.
Sabah PPBM chief Hajiji Mohd Noor had called for the department to be revived, saying it was the best platform to ensure all federal-related programmes and policies were implemented smoothly in the state.
The proposal was immediately shot down by Shafie, who claimed that reviving the department was akin to giving up Sabah’s rights.
Sabah Umno Youth chief Abdul Aziz Julkarnain also opposed the proposal, describing it as regressive.
“This goes against the call by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, and the political aspiration of Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to have Sabah’s rights returned,” he said.
He said Sabah should retain its rights to plan development and manage its finances despite the Warisan-led state being in the opposition.
Aziz said Sabah’s leaders must look at the “bigger picture” when making such calls “as it also involves the future generations”.