Pandikar: Dewan Rakyat yet to receive notice on tabling of 13 new Sabah state seats

AVILA GERALDINE


KOTA KINABALU: The Dewan Rakyat has yet to receive any notice with regards to the tabling of the 13 new Sabah state constituency seats, said Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia.

“We know that the 13 seats have been approved in the Sabah state legislative assembly but the Dewan Rakyat has not endorsed this.

“At the moment, I haven’t receive a notice from the government (informing) that this matter will be tabled in the Parliamentary sitting,” he told reporters after launching the United Sabah Bumis Organisation’s (Usbo) 24th annual general meeting here.

In August last year, the Sabah legislative assembly has given its approval for the 13 new state seats, increasing the number of state constituencies in the state from 60 to 73 in the upcoming elections.

The planned new seats, posted by the Election Commission on Sept 15, are Bengkoka, Mengaris, Pintasan, Pantai Dalit, Darau, Tanjung Dumpil, Dampai, Tulid, Telupid, Sungai Manila, Lamag, Segama and Kukusan.

Meanwhile, Pandikar said Usbo would be touring Sabah by end of April as part of its role and preparation to ensure the continuous survival of Umno and the Barisan Nasional government in the state.

“Our involvement in the upcoming general election is vital and during the tour, we will be explaining to the people on how vital it is to continue supporting the government. That has been our stance since independence.”

The tour will focus on Tungku, Silam, Lahad Datu, Batu Sapi, Banggi and Pitas as well as two new constituencies namely Pintasan and Manggaris.

Established prior to the formation of Malaysia, Usbo was initially called United Sabah Bajau Organisation. It was formed to champion the interests of the Bajau, Ubian, Iranun, Suluk and Malay communities especially in the cultural aspects.

In 1993, it was renamed the Bajau Arts and Cultural Association and then rebranded to the current name in 2006. Usbo is the only non-governmental organisation, which is affiliated to the BN in Sabah.

Describing the relationship between Usbo and Umno as “bagai aur dengan tebing” (dependent on each other for survival), Pandikar said Usbo members were the largest component in Sabah Umno.

“Some quarters are claiming Usbo is not relevant to Umno. We are going to change that perspective and the coming tour will demonstrate to all Sabah people that Usbo is the body and soul of Umno.

On the current political scenario, he said the 14th general election would be as challenging as the previous ones and the mushrooming of new political parties were expected.

“When it comes to politics, anything is possible. Like who could have thought Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad would sit together with Lim Kit Siang?

“I was among those who admired the leadership of Tun Mahathir. I was pro-Mahathir and that never crossed my mind. Hence, political game is full of possibilities,” said Pandikar.