Don’t risk a Sabah-style ‘Brexit’, says Zahid

Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi. ― Bernama pic
Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi. ― Bernama pic

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PAPAR, July 22 ― Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi reminded Umno members and the people of Sabah not to be influenced by an attempt by outsiders to “Brexit” Sabah from Umno and Barisan Nasional (BN).

Ahmad Zahid said the action of these outsiders, including former state and national Umno leaders, is wrong and could have a negative impact on the people and the state of Sabah.

“If there are people from outside or those who used to be in BN, who tried to get the Sabahans out of the Umno and BN ring, they are wrong,” he said when opening the Umno Zone Three delegates conference at Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Bongawan near here today.

Also present were Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman; Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman, who is also Kimani Umno chief; Papar Umno chief Datuk Abdul Rahim Ismail and Beaufort Umno chief Datuk Isnin Aliasni.

Brexit is an abbreviation for “British exit”, referring to the United Kingdom’s decision in a June 23, 2016 referendum to leave the European Union (EU).

Ahmad Zahid said some of the Brexit voters had regretted their move because the results were not as good as they had hoped for.

“Sabah does not want to be Malaysia’s ‘Brexit’. Sabah does not want BN and Umno to lose. Not the leaders who have to deal with the consequences but the people,” he said.

If Sabah leaves Umno and BN, the risk is too high as what some previous state governments had faced when they set up governments that were not in line with the federal government, he said.

Hence, he said the current political situation in Sabah, in which there is a power-sharing among BN component parties, should be continued for political stability, even though the state legislative assembly seats would later be increased from 60 to 73.

“I hope our friends in BN will not put pressure on the chief minister. We hope that our friends in BN will negotiate accordingly. The important thing is not the allocation of seats but that Umno and BN can rule comfortably in Sabah,” he said.

Ahmad Zahid is confident that the Umno-led BN government would be maintained despite the additional state seats because a study by the Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) in 2016 revealed that 76 per cent of Sabahans still wanted BN to continue the agenda to develop Sabah.

In fact, he said the research also showed that 71.2 per cent of the Sabahans had regarded that BN had  successfully transformed Sabah which proved that they still wanted Umno and BN to govern Sabah.

He also reminded Umno members and the people in Sabah to learn from the Tanduo incident in Lahad Datu and the militant attacks in Marawi, southern Philippines, to prevent such incidents from happening again.

Ahmad Zahid, who is also the Home Minister, said he would strengthen the Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCom) to ensure that the safety and stability of Sabah were preserved. ― Bernama

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