KOTA KINABALU: Bingkor assemblyman Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan (pic) finally has a political party of his own after over two decades of moving in and out of nearly half a dozen parties.
"We finally have our own party after so many years that I can call mine,” Dr Jeffrey told reporters as he announced the name of his new party - Parti Solidarity Tanah Airku (STAR).
"I have moved party-to-party bringing my struggle for state rights, so much so that they called me katak (frog). Today, I don’t need to jump anymore. I have a home to continue my struggle,’’ said Dr Jeffery, whose frequent party hopping saw critics calling him a political maverick.
Dr Jeffrey, who is the younger brother of Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) president Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan, said STAR would also allow for other political parties and NGOs to become affiliates and use their symbol in elections.
"We don’t need to register a coalition. Other parties can contest under our symbol,” he said, explaining that Sabah STAR is with the United Sabah Alliance (USA) that includes Sabah-based Opposition party Sabah Progressive Party and Parti Cinta Sabah (PCS).
STAR's registration comes immediately after Sarawak-based State Reform Party, which had the same acronym, changed its party constitution on June 26 to adopt a new acronym, Reform.
Dr Jeffrey had been using the STAR symbol for elections but was never allowed to set up branches as the party was Sarawak-based.
It could only set up a Sabah chapter, which was non-political, because it did not allow membership outside Sarawak.
"Sabah STAR is no longer a Sabah chapter, it is now a full-fledged Sabah-based party,’’ he said, adding that the Registrar of Societies had given the approval following the constitutional changes made by the Sarawak counterpart.
On a question whether USA would consider teaming up with former Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal, who quit Umno earlier this month, Dr Jeffrey said they were keen to accept anyone who is sincere in championing state rights.
However, Dr Jeffrey said USA chairman Datuk Mohd Noor Mansoor, who was at the function when Shafie announced his resignation from Umno, had yet to brief them about developments on the Semporna MP.
Dr Jeffrey also said his new party logo would be similar to the old one but STAR would have a seven-pointed star instead of nine.