Pandikar challenges critics

KOTA KINABALU: Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia has issued a challenge to those claiming to fight for Sabah’s rights as enshrined in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).

“Show the sincerity of what you claim to be championing, whether it is for the rakyat or merely political rhetoric,” he said in a statement yesterday.

Pandikar also dared Parti Warisan Sabah (to state) if it would amend Article 5A in the State Constitution making Islam no longer the state’s official religion should it get the mandate to form the government.

The same challenge and question is directed to STAR president Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan who claimed that Pandikar had twisted the fact pertaining to the Malaysia Agreement 1963.

“I am challenging them because they have misinterpreted the history on Malaysia’s formation and the legislation to suit their own taste and political agenda,” he said and stressed that lately, the issue of Sabah and Sarawak rights being eroded or neglected by the relevant quarters in Kuala Lumpur had been fanned by those with their own political agenda.

“I issued this statement in my capacity as a Sabahan and not as the Dewan Rakyat Speaker because this is a very serious matter. There are those who take advantage of this issue and are making statements which they claim are what the people want, as though their opinions are what Sabahans agreed to.

“Since these people are very keen to champion for Sabah rights which was allegedly agreed on in the Malaysian Agreement 1963, then I challenge them to show the sincerity of their fight to Sabahans,” he said.

He stressed that the challenge was based on what was public information, that before 1976, in line with what was agreed in the Malaysian Agreement 1963, there was no official religion for Sabah.

However, in 1976, the then Usno government had changed the situation by amending the State Constitution to include a new Article; Article 5A which states that Islam is Sabah’s official religion.

“Before I reply to Yang Berhormat Darell Leiking who is also Parti Warisan Sabah’s deputy president’s statement that was published in a local newspaper yesterday, I would like him to clearly state whether the party will amend Article 5A in the State Constitution making Islam no longer the state’s official religion should it get the mandate to form the government.

“This question is also directed to Datuk Dr Jeffrey,” Pandikar said.

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