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 Local

Chief Minister says Sabah will adopt a ‘gentle’ approach

10th August, 2016

CHIEF Minister Datuk Seri Musa Haji Aman said Sabah will adopt a “gentle” approach in demanding for the State’s autonomy and rights.

He said this at the State Assembly sitting on Tuesday in response to a question by Tamparuli Assemblyman Datuk Wilfred Bumburing on whether Sabah will be working alongside Sarawak in demanding for greater autonomy from the Federal government.

“There is no point for us to shout and demand for something that will get us a lot of attention but in the end, we do not get anything,” said Musa when defending his “gentle” approach.

“That does not mean we are not willing to fight for Sabah’s rights. We want something mutually beneficial so we have to use a different approach,” he added.

“We discuss and negotiate issues that are beneficial for our people.

“Some people are asking for more percentage and opportunities and why don’t we do this?

“But this is not always the way. We don’t necessarily seek publicity, but we fight for Sabah’s rights too,” he said citing examples of the State obtaining equities in oil and gas exploration in Sabah as well as related downstream activities.

Musa added that the State did not always have to follow the way of others.

“We have our own approach and sometimes, our way is more effective,” he said.

When responding to Api-Api Assemblywoman Christina Liew, Musa said that even though he had not adopted an approach similar to that of Sarawak, he had also fought for the rights of Sabah especially in the oil and gas industry.

“I have told the Shell Malaysia chairman Datuk Iain Lo during the recent Kinabalu Shell Press Awards to prioritise Sabahans when hiring since most of their operations are conducted in the State’s waters,” he said.

Christina’s question was on whether Sabah would follow Sarawak’s example of freezing all new applications for work permits for Petronas personnel posted to the State.

Musa said the same to Petronas to give priority to Sabahans when hiring employees.

“We have our way of doing things. We don’t want to promise mountains when we cannot even deliver molehills. Just because we are silent, it doesn’t mean we are not fighting for Sabahans,” he added.

Earlier, Special Tasks Minister Datuk Teo Chee Kang also defended Sabah’s “gentle” approach in seeking greater autonomy for Sabah that was not always publicised.

“There is talk saying that this asking for rights started ‘from there’ but we have always had a strong stance in defending our rights as well,” Teo said.

As an example, he cited Sabah recently making a firm stand against the Federal government extending their jurisdiction on solid waste collection, adding that the State had always insisted that local government should be under the State’s jurisdiction.

“We don’t always make this a big deal and publicise it to the media, but we do have a good relationship with the Federal government and we have a good channel to discuss matters with them.

“Confrontation is not always the best way. You can make resolutions to demand 20 per cent or 50 per cent but what does it matter if we can’t get it?” he added.

Teo said a technical committee to assist in talks over devolution was looking at ways to review the rights and role of Sabah and Sarawak within Malaysia by studying historical documents and the Federal Constitution.

   
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