KOTA KINABALU — Labuan MP Datuk Rozman Isli announced his intention to join Parti Warisan Sabah yesterday and confirmed his departure from Umno.
The two-term federal lawmaker cited the need to foster better ties between the Federal Territory and the state government as among reasons for his move.
“Now is the opportunity for Labuan to change some of its administrative systems where it is far from the capital and its position within Borneo has little effect. Labuan needs to be more empowered and needs to work with its closest neighbour,” he said.
“At the moment, the decision-making process takes too long and sometimes the voice of the people goes unheard, causing great losses to Labuan which needs large scale investments. This is why I say Labuan needs structural changes.
“The Sabah government also wants Labuan to prosper so it can provide jobs for Sabahans and business opportunities for the good of the region. I would also like to ask for a state assembly seat for Labuan like they once had before,” he said.
Rozman said another reason he was joining Warisan was to be part of the fight alongside Sabah and Sarawak for the return of the rights accorded to the two States in the Malaysia Agreement 1963.
He said the country’s political system was still at its infancy, and the current movement in alliances was part of the process in finding the right formula.
Rozman is the sixth federal lawmaker to resign from Umno since the general election, joining others such as Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed and fellow Sabahan Datuk Seri Anifah Aman.
Sabah Chief Minister and Warisan president Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal welcomed Rozman’s move.
“We have direct relations to Labuan so it’s right that we work together.
“Labuan has several state industries – Sabah Gas and Sabah Energy so we have to work to up their capacity. We cannot leave them behind in our effort to industrialise Sabah, and the Labuan MP can help us in this effort,” he said.
Shafie told critics that he weighed security risks before deciding to resume barter trading between Sabah and its neighbours.
He said that the state’s security council had studied the matter and was aware of new security measures that must be taken for barter trade with the Philippines and Indonesia to resume.