Saturday, 25 July 2015

Bumburing: Jeffrey not Umno Sabah/BN stooge

Jeffrey has all along been consistent in his struggle for Sabah rights which has been brushed aside even by Umno Sabah

KOTA KINABALU: Tamparuli assemblyman Wilfred Bumburing said it was unbecoming of Sabah Opposition Chief Lajim Ukin to describe Bingkor assemblyman Jeffrey Kitingan as an Umno Sabah/Barisan Nasional (BN) “stooge” just because the latter and not he was included in the 40 per cent Committee negotiating with the Federal Government for the return of 40 per cent of the revenues collected in Sabah.

“Jeffrey has all along been consistent in his struggle for Sabah rights,” said Bumburing who is also President of the Angkatan Perubahan Sabah (APS). “Sabah’s rights have all these years been sidelined and brushed aside by the BN leaders especially after the entry of Umno.”

He pointed out that given the fact that Foreign Minister Anifah Aman organised the Public Forum which led to the formation of the 40 per cent committee, although seemingly hostile to Putrajaya, shows that leaders across the political divide are willing to come together in defence of Sabah’s constitutional rights. “Before Anifah entered the picture, Jeffrey had been brushed aside even in the assembly whenever he raised Sabah rights. “The atmosphere in the Sabah Assembly, dominated by Umno, turned hostile whenever Jeffrey spoke up on Sabah rights.”

“Even his own brother, Huguan Siou and Deputy Chief Minister Joseph Pairin Kitingan, criticized him and shouted him down.”

Bumburing called on Lajim to withdraw his statement against Jeffrey, apologise, and promise never to repeat something that would only further divide the Opposition and the people, and agree to support the work of the 40 per cent committee. “Lajim should stand with fellow Sabahan leaders and join in the struggle for the homeland instead of criticizing and coming up with insinuating comments on issues which he isn’t certain.”

Bumburing pointed out that Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak met with the committee which he earlier proposed. “This fact should be appreciated by Lajim. Najib supporting the work of the Committee doesn’t mean that Jeffrey is being used as his tool.”

Bumburing expressed the hope that the 40 per cent Committee will not end up like so many other committees whose findings and reports ended up on a dusty shelf somewhere and were soon forgotten. “This seems to be the fate of the RCI Technical Committee headed by Pairin and the RCI Management Committee headed jointly by Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Chief Minister Musa Aman.”

Lajim fears that Jeffrey was being made use of by the Federal Government on the 40 per cent issue. “He was invited to meet with Najib recently on the 40 per cent issue while others including myself as Opposition Chief were left out.”

Jeffrey’s supporters, rebutting Lajim, pointed out that Jeffrey was the first to raise the 40 per cent issue.

The social media, coming to Jeffrey’s defence, has pointed out that it was the consensus among the people that the Bingkor assemblyman should be included in the committee. “He has been widely credited for raising the issue that 40 per cent of the revenues collected in Sabah by the Federal Government should be returned to the state government.”

“For the first Public Forum on the 40 per cent issue at the Universiti Malaysia Sabah, Jeffrey was initially not invited,” said Evelyn-Gobile Koh on Facebook. “But Sabahans pushed for his inclusion through the social media.”

“That was an eye-opener. He was invited again for the second Forum and by consensus from the floor it was suggested that Jeffrey should be chairman of the committee.”



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