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Thursday, May 4, 2017

Anifah: I work with the Opposition for Sabahans’ common good

KOTA KINABALU - Datuk Seri Anifah Aman said his “MySabah” group was aimed at bringing change to the state, amid criticism that the foreign minister’s group included Opposition lawmakers.

He said that he wanted to correct any misconception about his working with Datuk Seri Jeffrey Kitingan and Datuk Yong Teck Lee through the MySabah group, and that his intention was to leverage his close working relationship with the prime minister by bringing up Sabah issues directly to the latter.

“I asked myself, I have done so much for the country (by my reckoning), why not take this opportunity to raise issues of great importance to Sabahans? Are we getting a fair deal? Were the promises, assurances, agreements been implemented and fulfilled in the formations of Malaysia?

“I have access to the prime minister and here is a leader who is sympathetic with our grievances why not have a go. So how do I do it? Oh, a forum consisting of great minds including prominent constitutional lawyers and other prominent individuals,” he said in a Facebook post.

Anifah said he thought of Jeffrey, who has for years and at every opportunity, raised issues on Sabah rights including the 20 points accorded to Sabah and the prominence of Sabah and Sarawak in the Malaysia Agreement.

“No one in the seat of authority took him seriously. So I started thinking how do I persuade some of us Sabahans to leave politics aside in this instance for common good,” he said.

Anifah, who is the younger brother of Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman, said that he did not ask his Barisan Nasional (BN) colleagues to join the struggle so as to not “rock the boat” and it was best to work with people who had "nothing to lose".

“If anyone were to lose, then it would be me. But I convinced myself that this opportunities of mine will never come knocking again,” he said.

Anifah said he assembled other figures whom he had known over many years, including lawyer Ansari Abdullah whom he said he “worked with very closely over many years in football and a lawyer of some standing”, Yong and social activist Amde Sidek who were on his committee when he was president of the Sabah society in the United Kingdom.

“So I invited these people and specifically told them that I was not interested in their politics and they can leave their politics at home but come and work with me as a Sabahan. I have access to the prime minister and here is a leader who is sympathetic with our grievances why not have a go,” he said.

Anifah said that contrary to what some people thought, Najib was well respected among foreign leaders including “Kings, Emirs, Presidents and Prime Ministers,” and was a good listener.

Anifah said the My Sabah forum was attended by more than 7,000 people of like-minded minds.

“Where is politics in this??? I did invite some of the leaders in the current opposition but never responded. I told DDJK prepare a memorandum and we will submit to the PM as a United Sabahans devoid of any political and self promotions,” he said.

In the process, Anifah roped in contributions from other Sabahans, including constitutional lawyer Tengku Fuad Ahmad, former attorney-general Tan Sri Gani Patail, senior politician Datuk James Ligunjang and Dr Chong Eng Leong among others.

Anifah's statement comes following accusations by Parti Cinta Sabah president Datuk Wilfred Bumburing, who had recently pulled out of the United Sabah Alliance.

Bumburing had also previously accused Yong and Jeffrey of playing both sides as their involvement in the My Sabah group was causing suspicion, compounded by Jeffrey’s actions of submitting a report to the state government’s Sabah rights review committee, chaired by Anifah.

Anifah said that the My Sabah platform has gone far, and done some good for Sabahans.

“All those aspiring wannabe please make yourself useful for our future generations instead of wasting your time hitting at other people. To those people asked what have you done to your state when your were in the position to do something.

“I am thankful to DDJK [Jeffrey Kitingan] and all that have the conscience to come together as Sabahans to rightly claim what are we entitled to. Sabahans this is our best time and best opportunity to come together for a common cause. I can assure you that the PM will not send you to the Kamunting University!” he said.

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