KOTA KINABALU: A little-known political figure from Sungai Sibuga - the political base of Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman – has announced the setting up a new opposition party to contest in the coming elections.
A former teacher who is now a businessman, Datu Mohd Arshad Abdul Mualap said that Parti Perpaduan Rakyat Sabah (PPRS) will contest in the elections and was now looking for coalition partners.
Mohd Arshad, 40, who contested Sungai Sibuga and lost his deposit against Musa in 2013 state election, told reporters that that his party wants to work with other local based opposition parties.
He said they were keen to join the local opposition alliance of Gabungan Sabah which wants to reinstate state rights.
“Our stand is to work with only local Sabah parties and not national parties,” he told reporters when announcing the launching of the party here on Thursday.
The party is the latest to enter the field in the state where there are some 31 active and inactive political parties registered.
“PPRS had talks and discussions with USA’s leadership on its joining the alliance, and there has been positive indications from both sides but no decision has been made yet,” Arshad said.
Gabungan Sabah is an alliance of three parties – STAR Sabah (led by Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan, Parti Cinta Sabah (led by Datuk Wilfred Bumburing) and Sabah Progressive Party (led by Datuk Yong Teck Lee) while another new party Parti Harapan Rakyat Sabah started by former Sabah PKR chairman Datuk Lajim Ukin will also be working with the local opposition alliance.
Arshad said that he was optimistic an agreement will be reached among the local parties to take on the Sabah Barisan Nasional in straight contests.
“This is the time for local parties to step up and shine,” Arshad said.
Another new local party, Parti Warisan Sabah headed by former Umno vice president Datuk Mohd Shafie Apdal was likely to go it alone in the polls while national Pakatan Harapan parties have also indicated that they will be in the fray with or without deals with local opposition parties.