KOTA KINABALU: A Kitingan card played by Parti Keadilan Rakyat in the Kadazandusun heartland of Tambunan is causing ripples among Sabah Barisan Nasional circles.
The decision by Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan to officially submit his application to be a PKR member to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim yesterday appears to give symbolism to reviving another direction for Kadazandusuns split many ways politically.
Tambunan was where the rallying call of the Kadazandusuns began under Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) president Datuk Joseph Pairin Kitingan who set the ball rolling for the overthrow of Barisans Parti Berjaya of Datuk Mohd Harris Salleh in 1984.
The heydays of PBS nine-year reign ended in 1994 when Anwar led a Barisan assault that led to the Kitingan brothers parting ways. They have, however, yet to fight each other in Tambunan.
Now with Dr Jeffrey jumping into PKR and Pairin solidly backing Sabah Barisan headed by Sabah Umno chief Datuk Musa Aman, Barisan politicians are watching what the oppositions next move will be.
Firm dismissals of early polls by the Prime Minister in recent days has failed to stop Sabah politicians from speculating a Kitingan duel in Tambunan that could lead to a shift of Kadazandusun votes in the next elections.
One concern is that Anwar could well provide an impetus to Muslim bumiputra voters to rethink a new wave of cooperation with their non-Muslims under a Sabah-thinking opposition in the wake the Sarawaks electoral showing last May.
Dr Jeffrey, at the function to handover his application to Anwar, said he believed that joining PKR would help bring about changes that Sabah needed.
Shrugging of a political challenge, Pairin sees his brothers move to PKR as unnecessary.
Pairin's stand is that Sabah is going through a major change under the Barisan leadership of Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi with the state receiving what the people have been asking for.