PBM targets Sabah’s KDM seats to bolster Borneo bloc influence

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

PENAMPANG, June 29 — Parti Bangsa Malaysia (PBM) is the latest party to set its sights on a dominant Borneo bloc, by aiming to make inroads into Sabah’s highly saturated native constituencies.

Its president Datuk Larry Sng said that PBM will be entering the fray in the coming state elections, eyeing seven seats in the Kadazandusun Murut (KDM) majority seats of Penampang, Ranau, Kota Belud, Kota Marudu, Pensiangan, Tuaran and Putatan.

“For now, PBM will be going solo. We have no plans to form alliances with any parties, be it Pakatan Harapan, Perikatan Nasional, Gabungan Rakyat Sabah or anyone,” said the Julau MP when asked about the party’s aspirations here.

He did not discount the possibility of changes in the future as the party builds its presence here.

“This is the first time we are contesting here so I think we will know better what our direction will be after this and who we can work with. There is also time between now and the elections so a lot can change between then, too,” he said.

When asked why he chose to bring the party into an already saturated political field, Sng said the party offers a way into Sarawak, which was experienced at using its political leverage against the federal government.

“Sabah does have a lot of groups now, but they haven’t solved the many problems of development. The best way for Sabah is to work with Sarawak. With a Borneo bloc, we will have more leverage. There is nothing we cannot do if we work together,” he said when launching the party’s state liaison office here today.

“Sabah has good leaders; their MPs are all articulate and speak well in Parliament but the problems are never solved. So we need to use a different formula to achieve progress. That’s why PBM chose this platform.

“If Sabah can work together like in Sarawak they can progress much further when it comes to getting funds from the federal government. I believe this formula can work for Borneo,” he said.

However, Sng also said that the federal government or West Malaysian politics will always try to hamper the aspirations of a Borneo bloc.

“We will be too powerful if that happens,” he said.

Sng said that they are starting with the KDM seats for the time being as that is where many of their members were based.

“It does not mean we are a KDM party. It’s just where we are at now. We are also open to others, and we will contest more seats but for now our focus is there.

“We also have people in Semenanjung Malaysia, but the majority of our members are from Sarawak and Sabah,” he said, pointing out that Sarawak has been relying on its own state parties.

‘We don’t take instruction from anyone but local leaders,” he said.

Sng acknowledged that it would take a long time to gain Sabahan voters’ trust among the many parties on offer but said that they were here to stay.

“I don’t want to think we are fighting with the local parties, but it is about who can deliver the best message. Other parties have good leaders, but the difference is that we offer a way into Sarawak. That is the messaging,” he said.

PBM may be considered a national party although it is based in Sarawak, with the sole elected representative being Sng. PBM is a part of the 17-component party federal unity government.