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  • Wartawan Nabalu News

Ewon's Political Journey 2023


22 December 2023

By Wartawan Nabalu News


PENAMPANG: On January 15, 2023, Datuk Ewon Benedick officially assumed the Presidency of the United Progressive Kinabalu Organisation (UPKO), succeeding the incumbent, Datuk Seri Wilfred Madius Tangau. This marked a significant milestone in Ewon's political career.


Ewon, who serves as the Kadamaian State Assemblyman and Penampang Member of Parliament, actively participated in various party activities and functions throughout 2023. As a dedicated Party President, he introduced several new principles and approaches to advance the party's mission, enhance its services, and strengthen its foundation. During the Tritahunan UPKO Representative Conference, where he delivered the closing speech, he emphasised the importance of pragmatic leadership.


On January 1, Ewon demonstrated his dedication to the development of houses of worship in his constituency, addressing the concerns raised by the Kadamaian people.


During a speech on July 20, Ewon reaffirmed his party's unwavering commitment to the progress of Malaysia and firmly rejected any campaigns that could potentially create tension among different ethnic groups. He emphasised the need for clear and inclusive leadership that prioritise the interests of all regions, religions, and communities.


At the UPKO National Convention, Minister Ewon acknowledged the concerns expressed by UPKO divisions regarding the appointment of village chiefs and JKKK chairpersons. He stressed on the importance of practicing exemplary politics and ensuring fair and transparent political appointments.


On September 12, Ewon expressed his full support for the Unity Government's dedication to addressing issues concerning the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63). He highlighted the federal government's implementation of new initiatives and the forthcoming transfer of regulatory powers to the Sabah State Government.


On September 15, Ewon advocated for a clear and transparent recruitment process for state public service staff, addressing concerns that the current process does not adequately reflect the racial demography of Sabah.


Later, on September 20, Ewon, along with 12 elected representatives from Pakatan Harapan (PH), made an announcement regarding the withdrawal of the originating summons related to constitutional rights provided for in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).


During the party's September 29, Supreme Council Meeting, Ewon said two out of the three issues in the Originating Summons had been resolved, leading to the withdrawal of the lawsuit filed by PH Sabah representatives. He also showcased his commitment to addressing grievances raised by UPKO Papar, UPKO Kimanis, and UPKO Beaufort representatives during the UPKO Mini Convention on October 15, where he focused on infrastructure concerns and acted as a mediator for the people.


On October 6, as the Penampang MP, he chaired a meeting to discuss the appointment of native chiefs in the area. He spoke on the importance of collective decision-making and considering the perspectives of party leaders.


On October 16, he stressed on the significance of power-sharing between Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) and Pakatan Harapan (PH) by implementing a power-sharing formula in Kadamaian through the appointment of grassroots leaders.


He also led a meeting on October 26, with coalition party leaders of the state government to discuss the appointment of village chiefs in the Penampang area to ensure a consultative process and collective involvement


On the same day he distributed RM166,000 in administrative grants to 83 Village Development and Security Committees (JKKK) and Urban Development Committees (JKDB) within the Penampang parliamentary constituency.


On November 4, UPKO expressed its support for Ewon's proposal to allocate one-third of parliamentary seats to Sabah and Sarawak.


During the Convention for Zone C 2023 on November 12, Ewon reaffirmed UPKO's demand for one-third representation in Parliament for the Borneo States.


During his visit to Kota Marudu on November 13, Ewon emphasised the importance of establishing cooperatives and associations to tackle poverty, particularly in disadvantaged areas like Kudat, Kota Marudu, and Kota Belud, which are identified as the poorest districts in Sabah and Malaysia.


Ewon's leadership was further solidified on November 20, 2023, when he received over 200 new membership forms during his visit to Apin-Apin Keningau. Former UPKO members were welcomedto rejoined the party, strengthening its ranks.


November 17, Mail Balinu, the former Chief of Parti Cinta Sabah (PCS) Division, returned to UPKO and submitted his membership form to Ewon.


During a UPKO Alumni Pre-Christmas gathering on December 7, Veteran Politician Datuk Wilfred Bumburing expressed his recognition and confidence in Ewon's leadership, affirming that UPKO is in capable hands.


On December 8, Ewon, as the President of UPKO, announced the party's proposal for a mechanism on the repayment of 40% to Sabah.


On December 11, Ewon expressed his full support for UPKO's youth movement during the 'Youth Catalyst for People's Aspirations' Retreat programme. He stressed on the party's commitment to addressing issues concerning Sabah's rights and encouraged practical suggestions rather than mere criticism, aiming to be known for offering solutions.


On December 15, UPKO leaders held a meeting with former Sabah minister Datuk Yap Pak Leong to discuss various issues related to the 1963 Malaysia Agreement (MA63), including the 40 percent repayment.


On December 19, Ewon led a roundtable discussion to develop a payment mechanism for the proposed 40 percent payment, which will be presented to the government.


Throughout his one-year political journey, Ewon has been a strong advocate for Sabah's rights while promoting entrepreneurship and cooperatives to enhance self-sufficiency and alleviate poverty. He visited villages in his constituency Kadamaian, providing assistance such as touch point funds, donations as well as various forms of assistance. He is well respected by his constituents due to his leadership and approach.

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