top of page
  • Wartawan Nabalu News

UPKO Alumni gather ex-leaders, helps Ewon strengthen party

6 December 2023

By Wartawan Nabalu News

PENAMPANG: The leadership approach of United Progressive Kinabalu Organisation (UPKO) President Datuk Ewon Benedick received a fresh boost with the presence of the party's founding leaders at the inaugural UPKO Alumni Pre-Christmas celebration held here today.

According to Ewon, as soon as he took over the helm as UPKO President, he opened the doors for former leaders and party members to rejoin the party or assist him in the nation's development agenda.

"In 1999, when UPKO was launched in Ranau following the name change from Parti Demokratik Sabah (PDS), I was also present at the launching ceremony. After 24 years, I am delighted to see many UPKO founding leaders who were present at that event here tonight, and I am proud to meet them.

"Undoubtedly, during this period, UPKO has matured through various experiences. Whatever reasons that caused our differences in the past can now become a new strength for the party as long as we are open to complementing each other.

"I welcome any criticism, feedback, and suggestions from party members and former party members that I can use as input for discussions within the government's leadership. Because to me, who else understands UPKO better, and who else has the right to empower this party other than its members and those who support it?

"To me, the presence of UPKO's founding Deputy President Datuk Wilfred Bumburing and former leaders is not just an alumni gathering, but a reunion within the UPKO party's extended family. I will continue to be guided by UPKO's former leaders to strengthen and empower this party further," he said.

Ewon made these remarks during his speech at the UPKO Alumni Pre-Christmas celebration held at Amore Puru Putaton, hosted by the party's founding President, Tan Sri Bernard Dompok.

Among those present were former UPKO Deputy President Datuk Seri Panglima Wilfred Bumburing, former Putatan Member of Parliament Datuk Marcus Mojigoh, former Senator Datuk Christine Vanhouten, former Labuk Assemblyman Datuk Tan Yong Gee, former Petagas Assemblyman Datuk James Ligunjang, former Commissioner of Justice Datuk Douglas Primus, as well as former UPKO Supreme Council Members Petrus Guriting, Lightson Kohiya, Monih Epin, Muji Ampau, and Cheong Kwee Min.

Ewon, who is also the Minister of Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives, will hold a roundtable discussion on the mechanism for the repayment of federal revenue to the Sabah State Government.

"The return of 40% of federal revenue to Sabah is a significant demand of the people of Sabah. I want to clarify that the Federal Government has set a one-year period from July 2023 to July 2024 to establish the mechanism for the repayment of this federal revenue.

"Meanwhile, the RM300 million recently allocated to the Sabah Government is only an interim payment while waiting for the finalization of the agreed mechanism between the Federal Government and the Sabah Government.

"Therefore, as a member of the Technical Committee of the Implementation of the Malaysia Agreement 1963, I will organize a roundtable discussion at the end of this month so that I can bring the input from the discussion to the committee meeting next month. I welcome contributions from Datuk Bumburing, fellow leaders, and professionals to this discussion," he said.

According to Ewon, he is more inclined to contribute value and meaning within the specified timeframe.

"Many have questioned my decision and the withdrawal of the Originating Summons (OS) related to this matter, without understanding or considering the decisions made by the Government. They forget that the Court has granted us permission and freedom to file the Originating Summons.

"I am inclined to propose mechanisms on how this payment can be implemented. Is Sabah willing to reduce development allocations so that special payments based on the 40% can be implemented.”

"We also need to separate negotiations for direct revenue collected by the Sabah revenue office from revenue collected through the office in Kuala Lumpur.

"Datuk Armizan and I have done our best to raise this issue in the Cabinet. What we should focus on is the mechanism for the repayment of this revenue. I want to avoid polemical discussions and instead contribute to the negotiation process with practical mechanism proposals," he said.


bottom of page