Friday 31 August 2012



KOTA KINABALU: Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) wants a separate Barisan Nasional election manifesto which takes into account Sabah’s ground realities. PBS Kadaimaian Division Chief, Herbert Lagadan said the party will ask the federal government to allow an additional BN manifesto for the 13th general election.

Lagadan said the division had also proposed that a trust fund be set up with yearly contribution from Petronas.

The fund, he said, should start at RM3 billion with the monies equally divided and used to abolish poverty and upgrade rural infrastructure and schools in Sabah.

He added that the proposed fund should be administered by the state government.

“But this must be done during the 10th Malaysia Plan pending the renegotiation of oil royalty, ” he said, referrring to the proposed “amicable discussions” between the state government and Putrajaya on reviewing the current 5% oil royalty.

Both Chief Ministers Musa Aman (Sabah) and Taib Mahmud (Sarawak) made a sudden turnaround on the oil royalty issue when they said they would initiate “amicable discussions” with the federal government.

Currently, both Sabah and Sarawak receive only 5% oil royalty.

The chief ministers’ statements, which were made during the Hari Raya celebrations, have given Barisan Nasional native allies here – PBS, Upko and PBRS (Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah) – some hope.

Yesterday, Upko president Bernard Dompok said that an additional 5% hike on the current oil royalty was “immediately doable”.

He said under the Petronas agreement, the royalty payment was set at 10% but was to be split between Sabah and Kuala Lumpur.

“In which case I think the immediate doable figure, to my mind, is 10%. For a start, we can almost have another 5%. This is my thinking.” he said.

Najib in Sabah

Meanwhile, PBS’ opportune call for a separate manifesto appears to have been timed to coincide with Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s visit to Sabah this weekend.

Najib was last here in June when he received a rousing welcome (albiet staged, according to insiders) in Keningau. With him then was PBS president Joseph Pairin Kitingan who received a boost when Najib publicly declared that Pairin had his “ear”.

Musa, when confirming Najib’s visit this weekend, said the Umno president will be launching five Umno divisions, namely Libaran, Sandakan, Batu Sapi, Beluran and Kinabatangan

Najib, he said, together with wife Rosmah Mansor will also be doing his Hari Raya rounds

“This shows that the prime minister likes to be close to the people wherever they are,” said Musa.

But political analysts here believe that the current ground realities in Sabah are not favourable to Najib. They are of the view that Najib’s meeting this weekend with local Umno leaders will not be an easy one.

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