KOTA KINABALU: United Kinabalu Progressive Organisation (UPKO) president Datuk Ewon Benedick is of the opinion that the party should instill exemplary politics in relation to political appointments in the areas they represent.
According to him, the issue of political appointments such as customary leaders or village heads, and heads of village development and security committees (JKKK) is always raised by political parties, including at every UPKO annual convention.
“I am aware of the concern and dissatisfaction of UPKO Divisions that are not involved in the appointment of village heads (customary chiefs) and heads of the JKKK despite being part of the Sabah State Government. The same point was also raised by several other parties.
“The sharing of this appointment was already a resolution in the last UPKO convention, and as long as it has not been implemented, it should remain a permanent resolution of the party. I will continue to be the party’s diplomat on this matter.
“But we as people’s representatives through the UPKO party need to instill exemplary politics in the issue of political appointments in the areas we represent. For example, I, as the Kadamaian assemblyman, have ensured the recent appointment of JKKK Chairmen in Kadamaian based on the 60 percent formula that I appointed from UPKO and Pakatan Harapan, while the other 40 percent I appointed from other parties that support the Sabah State Government, namely GRS and BN,” he said.
Ewon said this in his winding-up speech at the party’s national convention at the Menggatal Community Hall, near here, on Saturday.
Ewon said that the Sabah Pakatan Harapan (PH) assemblymen have submitted a proposal to the Chief Minister that political appointments in the area represented be based on the 60:40.
“However, taking into account the views of the other parties that make up the current Sabah State Government, full power has been given to the assemblymen to appoint JKKK chairmen and village heads.
“In the Kadamaian area, I still stick to my proposal. I have implemented the 60:40 formula when appointing the JKKK chairmen in the Kadamaian state constituency, and I have already handed over their letters of appointment.
“This is what I mean by exemplary politics.” When we want to make a claim and when we can make a decision, we make sure that our decision or action can be used as an example.
“I hope the state government takes note of this matter so that the parties supporting the government are given a role in all areas according to a common partnership formula,” he said.
Ewon added that the party is still accessible to new members, including previous party leaders, and encourages their participation.
“I have no doubt that UPKO members are eager for the party, Sabah, and the nation of Malaysia to have a brighter future, as well as for the state to have a better economy. All of this begins with our willingness to talk and discuss various concerns at a convention.
“As the new President of UPKO, with the various initiatives that we have and will implement with a new approach, I hope that my leadership will get a positive reaction from the people. I would like to welcome new members, including former party leaders, to this party,” he said.
Ewon also asked party members to stop labeling anyone in speeches, such as the use of “Kacang Lupakan Kulit” or “katak parti.”
“I’m sure former leaders or members have reasons that we don’t know when they leave this party.I want UPKO party members to stop making remarks that label former leaders or party members as “party frogs.”
“As the President of UPKO, I would like to welcome them back to the UPKO party. We pray that they can all come back together in our big family home,” he said.