KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah State Farmers’ Organisation (PPN) supports the idea of changing the title of chief minister to premier, similar to Sarawak.
According to its chairman, Datuk Mohd Nazri Abdullah, Sabah must imitate Sarawak, which is currently using Premier, in order to adhere to the spirit of Borneo and the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).
“Since Sabah and Sarawak are the two states that together make up Malaysia, it is time for Sabah to follow Sarawak’s lead and rename the Chief Minister position to Premier.
“There is no Malaysia without the provinces of Sabah and Sarawak. Only the Malay Peninsula (Malaya) exists. Therefore, changing the title of Chief Minister to Premier is crucial because it will increase respect for Sabah as a region equal to the Peninsula, he said in a statement here today.
He was commenting on the Chief Minister’s statement on Wednesday regarding the proposal to rename the post in a series of articles in conjunction with his third year in the post published by a local newspaper.
Hajiji was quoted as saying that the proposal of whether Sabah will rename the position to Premier like Sarawak was also discussed.
“Some people want ‘Premier’ while others prefer ‘Chief Minister”,” he said.
Sarawak has amended the Sarawak Constitution for this purpose, and although the Federation has not yet changed the Federal Constitution, they have recognised and respected Sarawak’s decision,” he said.
Mohd Nazri said that Sabah’s actions following Sarawak’s footsteps will definitely make it easier for the Federal Government to recognise the two states as regions on par with the Peninsular.
He is of the opinion that the Madani Government led by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Panglima Anwar Ibrahim, would certainly not mind giving recognition to the Borneo region and changing the Federal Constitution if Sabah had done so like Sarawak.
He said that Anwar has repeatedly given assurances that he will implement all the agreements that have been signed in MA63.
“My responsibility is to implement the promises and agreements that have been signed by national leaders and fighters during the formation of Malaysia.
“In several other matters that are written down, I have given guarantees not to be negotiated but to be implemented,” said Anwar.
Mohd Nazri also welcomed Hajiji’s proposal to raise the status of assistant ministers by naming them Deputy Ministers and increasing the number of ministries to 14 from the current 11.
According to Hajiji, he has proposed this matter, and the State Cabinet has agreed and hopes that the related bill can be tabled in the State Assembly at the appropriate time.
“Amendment of the State Constitution requires the approval of two-thirds in the State Assembly; therefore, I expect the support of the Members of the State Assembly. The Deputy Minister carries a more important meaning and sounds better,” said Hajiji, commenting on the rationale behind the name change.
According to Mohd. Nazri, Sabah is a vast region and needs more ministries that are specifically created to meet the development and progress of the state