By Michael Kaung
KOTA KINABALU: Disillusioned Sabah Umno strongman Karim Ghani has quit the party in anger over its leaders failure to fight for the rights of the people of Sabah.
Karim said his resignation took effect on Oct 18.
He said he had no immediate plans to join any other political party but indicated he would support any party that would fight for the state’s rights.
Karim, 70, is among former USNO leaders including the late Tun Mustapha Harun, its founder, who were instrumental in bringing Umno into Sabah in 1990.
The first Sabah Umno information chief, Karim said that he had become disillusioned with Umno’s failure to fulfil its objective of fighting for Sabahans’ rights and welfare.
Karim said he has sent his resignation letter to Umno headquaters in Kuala Lumpur and the party’s headquarters in Sabah on Monday.
“My decision is irrevocable. I will remain party-less until I find the right political party which fully subscribes to my 28-point vision,” he told a news conference.
The veteran politician declared that he is ready to join any political party which will include his 28-point vision in its manifesto.
“I hope there is political party out there that is willing to fight for the 28 points which will benefit the people of Sabah,” he said.
Karim’s 28-point vision includes the 20-Point agreement that led to the formation of Malaysia. It also called for a review of the 20-Point Agreement.
He also wants the government to fight for the state’s autonomy.
He said the chief minister should be appointed by the Head of State on the recommendation of the people after the state elections, unlike currently when the state leadership is decided by the federal government.
Among others, his 28-point vision demands the revival of the Amanah Rakyat Tun Mustapha; an increase in the oil and gas royalty to 20% from the current 5%; appointment of one minister or assistant minister to resolve the illegal immigrants problem in Sabah.
Karim said he hopes that a two-party system would take root in the country with perhaps only Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat contesting in the General Election.
“If we like the current situation then we vote for the Barisan but if we want changes, we should think which political parties we want to select.
“Other political parties, whatever promises they made can never keep the promises as most of the things (they promised) need approval from the federal government including hospital, police and education matters.
“If we are not in line with the federal government, the application would end up nowhere. So if there are any local parties that want to help the people in Sabah, they should make a decision whether to join Barisan or Pakatan,” he said.
Asked if he would be joining any political party, he said he would make an announcement about his plan or decision in due time.
“If Umno wants me to give an explanation why I quit Umno, I will give an explanation to them,” said Karim.
He also downplayed the Sabah Progressive Party’s promise to restore the state’s autonomy within Malaysia.
SAPP, he said, can promise anything but the authority to implement the promises lie with the federal government and SAPP would have to become part of the federal government through either the BN or Pakatan Rakyat.
“SAPP should either join Barisan or Pakatan if they want to fight for the people in Sabah…they should join a party that will lead the country,” he said.
“I brought Umno into Sabah and I hope to send Umno out of Sabah,” said Karim, adding that he would support whichever candidate that subscribed to his 28-point vision in the coming Batu Sapi parliamentary by-election.