KOTA KINABALU: Political analysts and parties from both sides here say the local opposition coalition Gabungan Sabah’s (GS) manifesto may look good, but hard or impractical to implement.
Dr Arnold Puyok, who analyses the political scene in the Eastern states of Malaysia, said the manifesto seemed very academic in nature and does not address the real things that need attention or what the people need.
“On paper it looks good but overall, if you ask people what they want, it is not political matters but the bread and butter issues. It does not elaborate how they will ensure better jobs and better employment opportunities.
“(The manifesto did not fully address) how to connect to economic issues,” said the Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) senior lecturer when contacted.
On Sunday, GS, which is made of Parti Harapan Rakyat Sabah (Harapan Rakyat), Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP), Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (Star) and Parti Perpaduan Rakyat Sabah (PPRS), listed the 15 core struggles for Sabah in the manifesto launched.
It included restoring equal partnership and full autonomy, 1 federation 2-systems where Sabah shall have its own system of governance and policies, resolving Philippines’ claim on Sabah and zero Good and Services Tax (GST).
Under political autonomy, GS wants to administer Sabah with residency system with seven administrative regions, with Labuan federal territory being the eighth residency when it is returned to Sabah.
Sabah Umno Youth vice-chief Shahelmey Yahya deemed the promises by the opposition coalition as redundant, as the federal government had already been working on and delivering the goods to Sabah.
“I believe the public is knowledgeable and can differentiate who can deliver and who can’t. Some of the things they are saying are already being worked on by Barisan Nasional (BN).
“The federal government has also promised to include in BN manifesto for elections, things based on the needs of Sabah people within Malaysia – including incorporating (the upholding) of Malaysia Agreement 1963,” stressed Shahelmey.
On Labuan being returned to Sabah, he said it was evident under Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s administration how serious the government was in developing the island, including designing a bridge to connect to the mainland.
Labuan Member of Parliament Datuk Rozman Isli lambasted GS for the empty promises they were making to gain voters’ attention.
“My advice to the people of Sabah and Labuan ... we are experiencing the best era now in terms of development and federal allocations under the premiership of Najib.
“And there is more coming not only to Sabah and Labuan but the whole country with a great momentum leading to 2050,” he said, adding the people should forget the empty promises by the opposition and instead continue supporting the government which was bringing positive momentum.
A leader from Parti Warisan Sabah, which is not in collaboration with GS, however, made things simpler by saying the Labuan decision must be made by the islanders themselves.
“This is my personal opinion, let Labuan people decide for themselves what they want.
“As for the GS manifesto, I really do not bother (to comment) as we ourselves are busy focusing on our own manifesto,” said Warisan deputy president Darell Leiking.