Warisan official laughs off invitation for party to join Perikatan

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Earlier today, Datuk Jeffrey Kitingan had said he was in support of Warisan joining PN after PBS extended an invite to Warisan to work with them in the GRS and PN government. ― Picture by Firdaus Latif
Earlier today, Datuk Jeffrey Kitingan had said he was in support of Warisan joining PN after PBS extended an invite to Warisan to work with them in the GRS and PN government. ― Picture by Firdaus Latif

KOTA KINABALU, May 21 — A Warisan leader declined Parti Solidarity Tanah Airku president Datuk Jeffrey Kitingan’s invitation for his party to join Perikatan Nasional (PN), describing the gesture as “humorous”.

Warisan treasurer general Terrence Siambun said Kitingan, who is a vice chairman of PN, could not even get political partner Parti Bersatu Sabah to formally join the coalition

“Could it be the case that PBS, just like Warisan, had also rejected Jeffrey’s overtures for PBS to officially join PN?” he said in a statement today.

Siambun said among reasons why Warisan did not wish to join PN was the rejection of PAS, whose lawmakers opposed a 2019 bid to amend the Federal Constitution that would have put Sabah and Sarawak back on par with Peninsular Malaysia.

“Kitingan also works closely with PAS which is the party that had outrightly rejected the then government’s Bill initiated by Warisan’s Batu Sapi member of parliament, the late Datuk Liew Vui Keong.

“Perhaps Jeffrey should also clarify his position once more on why he is willing to work with PAS whose party (which now has a Nominated State Assemblyman in Sabah) had outrightly rejected the reinstatement of Sabah and Sarawak as an equal partner of the Federation and its original spirit and definition prior to the amendment in 1976,” he said.

Siambun also explained that Warisan president Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal had disclosed his preference and partiality for PBS to journalists when asked whether there had been any discussion with other parties on working together with Warisan.

“Datuk Seri Shafie’s preference to work with PBS were that Warisan shares similar struggles for Sabahans and that its President (Ongkili) is a long time personal friend of Shafie’s and had been a consistent advocate on Sabah’s rights as well.

“PBS is also a state-based party that had been consistent throughout these years since its formation and had been a victim of leap-frogging,” he said.

He was referring to the post 1994 state general election controversy where PBS won by a narrow margin but lost hold of the government to the then BN federal government due to defections.

Siambun also said that the unique position held by PBS in the government — as an ally but not a component of PN — allows it to determine the course and direction of the party without being dictated to by others.

“PBS is not a formal component member of BN or PN but only supports the government of the day and whose support we are certain is contingent upon ensuring the Malaysia Agreement 1963 are wholly implemented and that Sabahans are given their rightful place in the Federation.

“This could well be the reason why its president Ongkili was given [the Sabah and Sarawak Affairs portfolio] in the Prime Minister’s Department,” he said.

Earlier today, Kitingan had said he was in support of Warisan joining PN after PBS extended an invite to Warisan to work with them in the GRS and PN government.

He said that having more parties work together would lead to more political stability and development for the state.

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