As STAR leaves Perikatan, will Sabah Bersatu be next?

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KOTA KINABALU, Dec 8 — The unceremonious exit of Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (STAR) from Perikatan National has spawned rumours rife more Sabahan parties will leave the national coalition.

The speculation was that the Sabah chapter of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) and Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) would also leave the state PN, and possibly go under the ruling Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) coalition.

Inside sources claimed the move has been under consideration “for a while now” and there were provisions that allow members to come under GRS as an entity on its own.

GRS secretary-general Datuk Masidi Manjun has denied that the party would be joining the United Sabah National Organisation (USNO), one of the parties in GRS, but that it would instead be under GRS directly.

“Give us a few more days for direct membership of GRS,” said Masidi when contacted by WhatsApp.

Yesterday, Astro Awani reported Masidi as denying rumours of the Bersatu Sabah MPs joining USNO.

“Not true, I think this was an amateur move to split GRS and BN in the state,” he was quoted saying.

Until recently, Sabah Bersatu, SAPP and STAR were under PN, but the same three parties were also in the state GRS coalition with USNO and Parti Bersatu Sabah(PBS). They are in the state government with Barisan Nasional.

But events after the 15th general election saw a switch in allegiance when PN's efforts to form the government did not materialise, and GRS decided to support a unity government with Pakatan Harapan and Barisan Nasional instead.

In the end, 24 out of 25 Sabahan MPs officially supported the federal government formed by Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Hajiji has said that GRS made the decision for the benefit of the state, and that PN chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin was “a wiser man” and would understand the rationale behind the decision.

STAR president Datuk Jeffrey Kitingan had also previously been saying that the local party would part ways with PN as they were now “going separate ways”.

The party’s supreme council had a meeting yesterday ostensibly to make the decision official but no official statement has been issued.

Rumours have been swirling that there will be changes to the state government, with some speculating that Parti Warisan will be given a bigger role in the state but so far party leaders have either denied them or evaded making statements.