Thursday, February 28, 2008


PKR Sabah manifesto promises equal revenue sharing


Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Sabah yesterday launched its manifesto promising a new and reformed State Government for Sabah. A supplement to the party’s national manifesto, the state manifesto emphasises on improving livelihood of Sabahans as well as restoring the just and equal revenue and power sharing between the State and the Federal Government. PKR Vice President, Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan in launching the 15-page manifesto at his residence in Bukit Padang here yesterday afternoon, said it is specifically designed to address the various longstanding issues facing the people in the State, such as illegal immigrants and unchecked increase in prices that has resulted in an extremely high cost of living and worsening poverty. He stressed that the party’s national manifesto which focuses on five points aimed at reforming the country’s economic and political structures, is applicable to the whole nation but Sabah has been allowed to present its own specifically tailored manifesto to effectively bring about changes to the State’s current economic, social and political landscape. Jeffrey said the manifesto among others focuses on providing better education, health and welfare assistance for the people of Sabah apart from protecting the rights of the natives, especially the native customary rights land. He said that under the PKR land reform policy, the role of the Native Chiefs in approving applications for native customary rights land will be restored. The land approved for government agencies such as FELDA will be reviewed, with the uncultivated land belonging to these agencies to be given to the natives to actively involve them in agriculture and economic development. To ensure balanced economic development, focus will be given to ensuring rural development is not merely involving the provision of infrastructure and basic amenities but also creating opportunities for the rural people to actively participate in economic activities, he said. Apart from education, the health care for rural people will also be given attention to help improve their overall livelihood. Among the measures towards this objective, said Jeffrey, is providing free water supply and health care services for rural people. To help the poor cope with the high cost of living, the prices of fuel will be reduced. A better revenue sharing equation between Sabah and Federal governments will also be formulated so that the State can enjoy a better deal for its fuel royalty. The employment opportunities and distribution of senior positions in federal departments and agencies in Sabah will also be improved with more posts to be given to locals. According to Jeffrey, the PKR Sabah manifesto represents a long-waited revolution that will restore the rights of the people in Sabah as Malaysians, which have been long eroded under the total domination of the State Government by UMNO. “As usual, BN manifesto this year contains loads of sweet promises, similar to the promises they gave in their last manifesto. Last time, they promised Sabah Baru which until today they have not delivered. Now they promise the same thing in the form of Sabah Development Corridor (SDC), which they claimed will bring changes. But they are just fooling the people,” he said. Jefrrey said the BN manifesto, which emphasises on the BN Government economic credentials and promising development through SDC, is just another instrument that BN intends to use to get the people to keep them in power, but it should be totally rejected. On the contrary, he said, PKR through its manifesto promises the people a truly democratic and progressive Government that is transparent and focuses on protecting the rights of the people. Should PKR be given the mandate to govern the State, it would first and foremost restore the balance of representation in Parliament between the Peninsular and Sabah and Sarawak to ensure equal rights and power between the states in deciding national progress, he said. Under the PKR, he said, there will be better and significant roles for Sabahans in Federal Cabinet, foreign missions and federal agencies. Also, PKR would return to the State its authority in deciding its own development as well as its rights on certain aspects as stated in the 20 Points, the minimum safeguards that Sabah founding fathers demanded as a condition for joining the formation of the Federation of Malaysia. In this regard, he said PKR will adopt the Tambunan Declaration which highlights urgent issues including, among others, the imbalance in royalty distribution and representation in Federal Cabinet.