Proposal to form Sabah and Sarawak party bloc idealistic, but takes long time to realise - Ewon
Datuk Ewon Benedick
1 Sept 2021
By Wartawan Nabalu News
PENAMPANG: Kadamaian State Assemblyman (ADUN) Datuk Ewon Benedick said the proposal to form a Sabah and Sarawak party bloc is very idealistic, however, it will take a long time to become a reality.
He said the political reality today is based on the history in Parliament and the two states in the past few years do not make it possible for the proposal to be implemented as there are always differences between the leaderships of Sabah and Sarawak.
“It is a very beautiful dream and may be dreamed of by almost all the people of Sabah and Sarawak. I personally want this dream to come true, but the reality is, it will not be implemented in a few years, it will take a long time to implement,” he said.
According to Ewon, Sabah and Sarawak MPs have the opportunity in 2019 to show the bloc unity of the two states when the motion to amend Article 1 (2) of the Federal Constitution was tabled in Parliament.
"Regarding the amendment of Article 1 (2) set out to restore the status of Sabah and Sarawak as equal partners with the Federation of Malaya or known now as Peninsular Malaysia, rather than as two of the 13 states mentioned in this today. The amendment is supposed to restore the original content as in 1963.
“However, all the MPS of Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) and Sabah UMNO do not support the proposal. The opportunity to create the Sabah and Sarawak bloc in Parliament was wide and available to be implemented at that time, but the fact is that the MPs in these two states themselves did not take the opportunity to realise the dream of creating the bloc,” he explained.
He was speaking as one of the panellists of the Aspirasi UPKO Bersama Pakatan Harapan webinar, just now.
The webinar was hosted by UPKO Secretary-General Nelson Angang while the other panellists consisted of UPKO President Datuk Wilfred Madius Tangau and Deputy President Senator Datuk Donald Mojuntin.
Ewon who is also the Vice President of the United Kinabalu Progressive Organisation (UPKO) said that the creation of the Sabah and Sarawak political bloc is not the only platform or initiative that could make the implementation of the Malaysia Agreement and the restoration of rights in the Federal Constitution of Malaysia a success based on the motion incident.
“All MPs from Pakatan Harapan consisting of PKR, DAP and AMANAH supported the motion in Parliament to restore the original rights of Sabah and Sarawak as equal partners that established Malaysia.
“Therefore, UPKO's decision to officially join Pakatan Harapan is the right action because in the end, this bloc understands Sabah's aspirations better compared to the Sabah and Sarawak MPs who themselves do not support the proposal.
“Even UMNO and PAS MPs do not support the proposal. Today, these two parties are components of Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) which forms the Sabah State Government. It is very unusual that parties that do not support Sabah's rights can be the ruling party in Sabah.
“In fact, it won't be surprising if minister portfolios who take care of Sabah and Sarawak cannot succeed in the Malaysia Agreement and Sabah's rights in the Federal Constitution.
"No wonder Datuk Maximus Ongkili failed to realise his promise in his first six months as a minister right until the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government collapsed due to problems caused by their own component party, UMNO. Sabah's rights have not been restored or resolved.
"I do not see the target of 100 days for every minister under the current Prime Minister will also be able to restore the rights of Sabah because UMNO and PAS will not support it as before," he stated.
Ewon also asserted that UPKO's participation in Pakatan Harapan is based on the principle of equal partners, not as the 'youngest brother'.
It is UPKO's responsibility to strengthen the support of other Pakatan Harapan component parties for Sabah's rights, he added.
“All Pakatan Harapan MPs support the restoration of Sabah's rights as their support for the proposed amendment to Article 1 (2) of the Federal Constitution in Parliament in 2019. So UPKO's role now is to strengthen their support for the restoration of other Sabah rights so that not only Article 1 (2) but many other Articles in the Federal Constitution and the Malaysia Agreement can be achieved through the continued cooperation and support of Pakatan Harapan MPs.
"As an equal partner in Pakatan Harapan, apart from cooperating and supporting reform agendas for the country and the people, UPKO will continue to bring the Sabah agenda in accordance with the Malaysia Agreement and the Federal Constitution to be supported by Pakatan Harapan component parties."
Ewon stated this in the UPKO Aspirations webinar with Pakatan Harapan just now.