Amid Pejuang and Bersatu’s approaches, GRS says only working with Pakatan ahead of state election

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KOTA KINABALU, May 6 — The Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) coalition said today it is not officially looking at working with any other partners outside of their current working relationship with Pakatan Harapan (PH) in Sabah.

GRS deputy secretary-general Datuk Armizan Mohd Ali said that there have not been any discussions held with any other parties, including Parti Pejuang Tanahair.

“There may be certain personal relationships, then discussions may have taken place.

“But what I can assure you, as one of the members of GRS at the central level, is that there have been no discussions with any party other than within the framework of GRS-PH Plus. That is the cooperation we aim to strengthen at this time,” said Armizan.

He was asked to comment on Pejuang’s intention to collaborate with GRS ahead of the upcoming state election.

The Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister said that discussions about collaboration with other parties, including Pejuang, have not arisen in any of GRS’ meetings.

He said that as a coalition with various component parties, any form of collaboration needs to be discussed.

“Any other proposals cannot be made by any individual within GRS without the approval of GRS-PH Plus. That is the existing framework of cooperation that has formed the government at this time.

“We are thankful, at least with statements from certain parties, I see [the intentions of other parties] as a recognition of their confidence in GRS in leading the state government.

“If people aren’t confident... there wouldn’t be any desire to collaborate with us, I see that as something positive,” he said.

Last Saturday, Pejuang president Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir, stated that Pejuang intends to collaborate with local parties including GRS ahead of the Sabah state election.

He said that informal meetings with leaders of local parties had also been held previously, but formal discussions have not been held so far.

Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia President Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had also reportedly said his party would consider whether to cooperate with GRS in the upcoming 16th state election.

GRS information chief Datuk Joniston Bangkuai also reiterated GRS’s focus on its relationship with PH Sabah, saying that the coalition was not looking to collaborate with Peninsula-based parties.

“Considering the people’s confidence in GRS and its harmony with PH Sabah in governing the state, there is no reason for the local coalition to collaborate with other parties based in Peninsular Malaysia.

“GRS is very comfortable with PH Sabah and other allies,” he said.

The state assistant tourism, culture and environment minister said that it was to GRS’ credit that Bersatu and Pejuang had stated their desire to work with GRS but that they will be guided by the views and sentiments of the people of Sabah in making any decisions.

“GRS highly appreciates the positive response and the majority of Sabah’s people’s comfort with the GRS-PH plus government,” he said.

Sabah PH and GRS’s relationship began when they backed GRS chairman Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor as the chief minister when he was facing an attempted coup by Umno and Parti Warisan in early 2022.