KOTA KINABALU: All political blocs in Sabah should be led by a local party, says Upko vice president Datuk Ewon Benedick.
He said that this includes any alliance with Sabah Pakatan Harapan, adding that Upko has been part of the coalition since it officially joined in August 2021.
Benedick said in a statement after officiating the Penampang Upko triennial general meeting on Saturday (June 11) evening that such a move would be in the spirit of the Malaysia Agreement 1963.
Benedick’s statement comes as political parties in Sabah continue to negotiate with different parties or allies as they prepare to face the 15th general election (GE15).
“For Sabah Pakatan to compete better with other blocs, it must embody the spirit of putting the state first (semangat kenegerian) as when Malaysia was formed through MA63. Thus, it is apt for Sabah PH to be led by a local party,” he said.
“This is my view and as long as I am part of Upko leadership, I will repeat the same view on political blocs to peers,” he added.
Benedick said that Sabah Pakatan must be seen to have the autonomy to make its own decisions when it comes to leadership for the state.
“The decision to file the legal action on June 3 by Sabah Pakatan Members of Parliament (MPs) and assemblymen was a decision made by leadership here without referring to the Pakatan presidential council, as Sabah matters must be decided by Sabah leaders,” he said.
“This showed that Sabah PH has autonomy to make its own decision,” added Benedick.
Benedick said there is no truly local political bloc in Sabah right now as national component parties dominated such coalitions, including the present Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) state government.