Saturday, 22 March 2008
The statement by Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah on the need for changes in the Umno leadership is a crude wake up call for the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to buck up, said Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) Supreme Council member Dr Chong Eng Leong.
He said since members of the Barisan Nasional (BN) component parties look up to Umno, as the thrust of the coalition, it was important for the party to remain strong.
"This is not meddling into Umno internal affairs. We need a strong Umno so that BN can continue to survive. But apparently the Umno leadership has yet to wake up," he said, Friday.
Dr Chong said BN component leaders in Sabah had been begging for assistance from the Federal to solve the longstanding problems of illegal immigrants and associated with it the issue of fake ICs and gaining genuine ICs through the backdoor.
"We are not being anti-Federal here, we are making the call for the sake of Sabah's sovereignty in Malaysia but the Federal leaders never wake up.
"So much so that even the move by the Parliamentary Select Committee on Integrity chaired by Tan Sri Bernard Dompok to call up the National Registration Department Director-General to get explanation on the matter was blatantly ignored," he said.
A long time advocate of the illegal immigrants and dubious ICs issues in Sabah, Dr Chong said that for this reason, Dompok who is also President of Upko, decided to resign from the committee.
"With Razaleigh now offering his service to lead Umno, hopefully he will be able to look into solving these issues in Sabah as well. After all the BN election manifesto never touched on the issues that are at the very centre of Sabahans' hearts," he said.
Dr Chong said Razaleigh is an experienced politician whom he believed is the best person to make the changes in Umno and not only restore the party's image following the dismal results in the recent general elections but also issues that other component parties had been calling to be addressed.
"Sabah and Sarawak contributed 40 per cent of the Parliamentary seats following the BN poor election results in Semenanjung but this was not reflected in the representations from East Malaysia in the new Federal Cabinet," he said.
Razaleigh, who is Gua Musang MP and Gua Musang Umno Chief, said in a report Friday that he was prepared to shoulder a huge responsibility, including contesting the Umno President's post.
He was quoted as saying that "to begin immediately the process of restoring ourselves, the leadership team must wake from its slumber, face the truth and accept full responsibility for this debacle". - DAILY EXPRESS