KOTA KINABALU: United Progressive Kinabalu Organisation (UPKO) president Datuk Seri Wilfred Madius Tangau has called for allocations to Sabah, Sarawak and Peninsula to be balanced after the status of Sabah and Sarawak as a region in the Federation of Malaysia is gazetted.

In this regard, he said Sabah and Sarawak's allocation should be one-third of the funds under the Malaysia Five-Year Development Plan as well as the national annual budget.

"The requirement should be institutionalised. It is not only one-third of the seats in Parliament for Sabah and Sarawak which received attention recently but one-third of the development allocation and funds should also get due attention," he said when opening the 16th UPKO Triennial general meeting here today.

He said UPKO wants the wider focus to be given to Sabah and Sarawak encompassing every aspect of the people's livelihood as well as quality facilities and infrastructure which is the basis of the socioeconomic status.

"When we talk about the target of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), it should not remain on the lips by claiming that Malaysia adopted the SDGs drafted by the United Nations. It should be translated and implemented to bring sustainable development.

"We don't want Sabah to remain a poor state for another 50 years. We don't want to talk about the lack of quality water supply for another 50 years. We don't want to talk about the existence of dilapidated schools for another 50 years," he stressed.

Meanwhile, Madius requested that UPKO vice president Datuk Ewon Benedick who will lead the party, to strengthen UPKO so that it is always relevant, especially in the current era.

"Today we are in a new political landscape. It requires a new leadership approach. I am calling on all members to play a more effective role, based on the new approach, to succeed in our struggle...and prioritise long-term benefits for the party and the people.

"UPKO must always listen to the people's voices and grouses. Time has changed in terms of various challenges which of course require us to make decisions throughout our struggle as a political organisation," he said.

He said UPKO needs to avoid things that the people hate the most such as the practice of racist politics, the practice of arrogance, religious extremism and acts of corruption.

Ewon will officially take over the position of UPKO president from Madius at the 16th UPKO Triennial Conference this afternoon after appearing as the sole candidate for the position, while Madius, who is also Tuaran MP, will be appointed as UPKO honourary president.