TUARAN 5th September, 2011: Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Haji Aman said the state Barisan Nasional (BN) leadership is willing to consider proposals by several of its component leaders to increase the number of state and parliamentary seats in Sabah.
He said Sabah being a vast state naturally had a need for more seats.
“We agree but we must follow the set procedures”
he said when speaking to reporters yesterday after attending the Aidilfitri Open House of Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Hajiji Mohd Noor at Dewan Bersatu here.
Musa is also the Sabah Umno liaison chief and state BN chairman.
Others present at the event with him included Deputy Chief Ministers, Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan and Datuk Dr Yee Moh Chai, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment, Datuk Masidi Manjun as well as other cabinet ministers and state assemblymen.
Pairin said the addition of state and parliamentary seats in Sabah would be a wise move to enable more elected representatives to serve the people and focus on development in the areas they represent.
“There are large areas which are difficult for just one wakil rakyat. However, the request for more seats should be taken into consideration in the real context and not according to race or ethnic groups.
“This means we need to consider the needs of the people in certain areas so development can be focused there,” he said.
Pairin therefore believed a careful study needed to be made before making any firm decision on the matter.
“We are all in BN and we must discuss and exchange ideas to determine the best decision, in order to avoid a tussle for seats.
“Even now, the election has not even been announced and yet people are already scrambling to become candidates.
“What is important is to carefully study it from all aspects and ensure that the decision is for the good of all,” he said adding that he will raise the matter at the next BN meeting.
Meanwhile, Bernama reported that Musa has described as a “non issue” a Wikileaks report of the alleged intention of some Barisan Nasional MPs in Sabah to cross over to the opposition on Sept 16 after the 2008 general election.
“No MPs (from Sabah) crossed over or defected to the opposition on Sept 16, 2008…so it’s a non issue,” he said.
Musa was asked to comment on the statement by State Assembly Speaker Datuk Seri Salleh Tun Said Keruak on Sunday, dismissing the Wikileaks report as untrue.
Online portal Malaysiakini reported on Friday that a leaked US embassy cable had lent credence to the claim of Pakatan Rakyat leader Anwar Ibrahim that a group of Sabah and Sarawak politicians had planned to defect from the BN because of alleged marginalisation of the two states.
An entry in the cable, posted by Wikileaks, quoted Salleh as telling US embassy officials that potentially more than half of the 25 Sabah MPs were ready to abandon the BN.
The cable claimed further that embassy officials found “no expressions of support” for then Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi among the senior Sabah politicians they met in a series of meetings in the state from June 18 to 20 that year.
The issue of Pakatan Rakyat’s bid to take over the Federal Government in 2008 is now ‘water under the bridge’
“All that is history because we are now focusing on what is important and that is the coming election,”
Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim