Wednesday, June 18, 2008

SAPP, Anwar and Badawi......

Thursday June 19, 2008

Hong Kong deal: SAPP and Anwar

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Progressive Party’s move for a no-confidence motion on the Prime Minister was a deal that was hatched in Hong Kong and wrapped up in Kuala Lumpur with PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

SAPP president Datuk Yong Teck Lee admitted he had met with Anwar on two occasions in the Chinese territory and the federal capital to discuss "the political dynamics affecting the nation and Sabah".

Many quarters have interpreted this to mean the "crossing over of Barisan Nasional MPs" to the opposition as promised by Anwar.

However, the proposed motion has not received widespread support and Yong agreed that the next 48 hours were crucial. At the moment at least two other Sabah Barisan parties - UPKO and PBS - have remained deafeningly silent.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said Yong's latest action was due to the fact that "I have not been able to satisfy his personal greed."

Abdullah did not elaborate. However, his aides said that the prime minister would elaborate at a later date.

Thursday June 19, 2008

We have made a stand, says Yong


KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Progressive Party is waiting to see if its push for a no-confidence motion against Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi as Prime Minister will get the political ball rolling.

The unprecedented move by the Barisan Nasional partner to back such a motion was announced yesterday by SAPP president Datuk Yong Teck Lee, who admits that the next 48 hours will be crucial for the party.

In his usual affable self, the 50-year-old former chief minister gave quick and witty responses to questions of how throwing a political card of no-confidence could spark off a groundswell within Barisan in the peninsula, Sarawak and Sabah.

“As far as the issues facing the people and as a far as our stand is concerned we are not alone. There are many others ... When they will make a move and declare a stand, that we will see,” he told a packed 90-minute press conference.

“We have made a stand and we bear the consequences,” said Yong, who revealed that he had met Parti Keadilan Rakyat advisor Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim on two occasions in Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur as well as other Umno and Barisan leaders.

The announcement, which saw immediate mixed reactions from stunned Sabah Barisan colleagues and the opposition, was made at 2pm at the party’s headquarters in Luyang, here, after months of speculation on who will make the first move since the March 8 polls.

“Our MPs will support a vote of no-confidence on the Prime Minister. Whether the motion will be tabled by our party MP or another party’s MP will be decided in due course,” he said on the 101st day of the Barisan government holding 140 of the 222 parliament seats.

Making his stand clear that SAPP still remained in Barisan, Yong said Sepanggar MP Datuk Eric Enchin Majimbun or Tawau MP Datuk Dr Chua Soon Bui could propose the motion.

The signed statements of Majimbun, the SAPP deputy president who is overseas on an official trip but will be back for Parliament sitting on Monday, and party vice-president Chua were issued to the media surrounded by party members.

Chua, by Yong’s side with the party supreme council standing behind them, said people had lost confidence in the leadership of Abdullah, and even Gua Musang MP Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah and other Umno leaders had asked him to step down.

SAPP’s four assembly representatives - Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Raymond Tan, assistant finance minister Melanie Chai, Au Kam Wah (Elopura) and Datuk Liew Teck Chan (Likas) - and Deputy Speaker Datuk Frankie Chong were not present at the conference but Yong said that they would be at Friday's supreme council meeting.

Yong, who was confident that all the supreme council members would attend the supreme council meeting, said some people expected SAPP to be sacked from Barisan.

In any case after the March 8 election, he said several Sabah Umno MPs, including the chief minister’s brother Datuk Anifah Aman of Kimanis, Kalabakan's Datuk Abdul Ghapur Salleh and Papar's Rosnah Mohd Shirlin, had stated that Barisan was not giving due recognition to Sabah.

“Barisan is no more in Sabah; only in form, not in spirit,” he laughed when pressed as to why SAPP was still remaining in the coalition. “Pullout is not something we have not said, we have to study the political implications.”

Stressing that he had nothing personal against Abdullah, Yong said if the vote of no-confidence fails, then SAPP would look for ways to achieve its objectives.

As to whether joining Pakatan Rakyat was an option, Yong said SAPP would work with whoever shared the party’s vision in solving Sabah issues like oil royalty, the return of Labuan, illegal immigrants and political autonomy.

Anwar is scheduled to be in Sabah on Saturday and the anticipation is that the former deputy prime minister may make an announcement on his claim to have enough MPs to topple the Barisan government.

Thursday June 19, 2008

Teck Lee: BN is no more in Sabah

AFTER reading out a two-page statement on why SAPP was making its stand now on a no-confidence motion against the Prime Minister, party president Datuk Yong Teck Lee fielded questions at a prolonged press conference. The following are excerpts of the Q & A:

Q: Is SAPP alone in its move to table a vote of no-confidence?

Many people including MPs and Barisan component party leaders have expressed similar lost of confidence in the Prime Minister and some quite firmly are calling for a change in Government. But as we all know, there is some distance between having a will and making a stand. Whether we are alone, as far as the issues facing the people and as far as our stand (is concerned), we are not alone. There are many others. Whether they will make the move and declare a stand, that we will see.

Q: Is SAPP still a member of Barisan?

Barisan is no more in Sabah. There is no spirit. Nevertheless, our status of membership in Barisan will be addressed at a supreme council meeting on June 20. In any case, after the elections Sabah MPs Datuk Anifah Aman (Kimanis) Datuk Abdul Ghapur Salleh (Kalabakan), Datuk Eric Majibun (Sepanggar), Datuk Dr Chua Soon Bui (Tawau) and Rosnah Shirlin (Papar) have said that the Barisan had not given due recognition to Sabah. Over the last few months the spirit is no more there. It is only in form. As of today, we are still in.

Q: Do you expect to be sacked from the coalition?

Some people think so. We will make a stand (at the Friday meeting) and bear the consequences.

Q: Do you think SAPP will get support for a vote of no-confidence?

Our MPs will support or move the vote of no-confidence, then if the vote does not carry, he (Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi) will be Prime Minister, then we will have to look at ways and means to continue our objectives.

Q: What will be the position of SAPP ministers in the Sabah government?

We have a deputy chief minister, an assistant minister and several others like the deputy speaker, board chairman, councillors etc. We believe that all the things we have mentioned are for Sabah...and their service is the prerogative of the state government.

Q: Have you talked to other leaders?

All the signs were there. In my discussions with them, I have impressed on Barisan component leaders and Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman. I have mentioned to them this window of opportunity has come after about 45 years and will not be forever.

Q: How is your relationship with the Prime Minister?

There is nothing personal. I last met (him) in Kuala Lumpur on May 13, it was very cordial. I made it quite clear to him, and just to make sure I wasn’t misunderstood, I said that though there would be no crossovers on May 14 as speculated, we cannot rule out something like that happening in the future. I conveyed this message three times.

Q: Why is SAPP taking this action now?

We want the issues solved but we get the impression the urgency is just not there.

Q: Did you meet the Prime Minister when he visited Sabah on Tuesday?

I understand some people were trying to see whether I could meet the PM. I did not see anything much coming out of it.

Q: Why didn't you make a decision to pull out?

The vote of no-confidence is a parliamentary process while to remain or not (in Barisan) is a political process. We also want to see the national point of view between now and Friday. Our stand today is not just that of our two MPs. It is a party stand.

Q: What sweetener could be offered to SAPP to change its mind?

I worry about delaying tactics until this window of opportunity closes. As far as counter offers are concerned, I remain suspicious of any delaying tactics. We have raised these issues in Parliament and there has been no effective response.

Q: Have you met PKR advisor Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim?

I’ve met him in KL and Hong Kong. I have met other leaders in and outside Barisan, to see what is happening in the country and what are the political dynamics affecting the nation and Sabah.

Q: How do you think the SAPP supreme council will decide on Friday?

I respect my supreme council and cannot speak on their behalf. Each of them will have their own views. We have to study the political dynamics of the situation.

Q: Do you expect others in Sarawak and the peninsula to follow suit?

I expect some of them to agree to what we have done or what we have said. Whether they will make a stand we have to see over the next few days and weeks.

Q: Are you joining Pakatan Rakyat?

We want to recover our autonomy as a party in Sabah. Actions so far by the leadership imply that there is no urgency in resolving Sabah issues. The return of Labuan, petroleum, imbalance in Federal laws, the RM200mil rice subsidy borne by Sabahans. We do not want to be subservient any more. Our aspiration is autonomy. We need to have an understanding with the Federal Government of the day.

Q: What if Barisan has another Prime Minister next week?

If there was a realistic chance of a change within Barisan, it would not go to Parliament. Tengku Razaleigh will tell you that.

Thursday June 19, 2008

No reason to support motion, says 'embarassed' SAPP deputy president

KOTA KINABALU: SAPP deputy president Datuk Raymond Tan said he was confused and embarrassed about the party's move to move a motion of no-confidence against the Prime Minister.

He said that the party's supreme council had not been consulted on the matter, accusing SAPP president Datuk Yong Teck Lee of acting arbitrarily.

Saying he would attend the party supreme council meeting scheduled tomorrow, he however questioned the party's rationale of having made the decision first.

"It is not proper for us to do it when (Datuk Seri) Abdullah (Ahmad Badawi) is the Barisan chairman. It is disrespectful to the Prime Minister," said Tan, who is Sabah Deputy Chief Minister and Infrastructure Minister.

On the meeting, Tan said: "If it (the no-confidence motion) was already pre-planned and decided, what are we going to discuss? The damage is done."

He said the move was embarrasing as the SAPP won its seats on a Barisan ticket.

Tan said he was not making any stand on the issue at the moment before attending the meeting.

He said SAPP had been very vocal and even blunt on Sabah issues and the Federal Government had been responding to various requests.

Tan had on Monday denied speculation that the SAPP would be pulling out of the Barisan.

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