KOTA KINABALU: The political parties in Sabah which left Barisan Nasional after its defeat in the May 9 polls are working towards formalising a new state coalition called Gabungan Bersatu, said Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili.
In a statement on Tuesday (June 12), the Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) deputy president said the core struggle is to promote dignified political unity and cooperation.
He said this is to ensure the development needs of Sabahans are served, their political and territorial sovereignty are protected, and their rights in the federation as contained in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) are defended and safeguarded.
“As announced by PBS president Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan on June 12, the Gabungan Bersatu will be spearheaded by PBS as it has largest number of elected representatives and is the oldest political party in Sabah.
“The proposed framework and constitution are being drafted and the component parties will be finalised before it is submitted for registration,” said the Kota Marudu Member of Parliament, who was also entrusted to carry out the PBS presidency tasks.
PBS, Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (PBRS) and Liberal Democratic Party had left Barisan and were in talks towards forming a local-based coalition and did not discount the possibility of Umno elected representatives joining the existing parties or forming a new Sabah-based party to be part of the proposed coalition.
The new arrangement with some 21 assemblymen is set to rival the ruling state coalition led by Parti Warisan Sabah, Upko, DAP and PKR, led by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal.
On reports quoting PBS secretary general Datuk Johnny Mositun that the 19 assemblymen of Tan Sri Musa Aman-led government, who took their oaths, at the State Assembly had left the Opposition block, he said it was not true.
“This is fake news!”
On Sarawak’s exit from Barisan Nasional to form a new coalition called Gabungan Sarawak as announced by PBB president and Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg, he said PBS congratulates them and welcomes the new development.
“We wish them the very best for the new endeavour and support fully their stand to safeguard state rights as contained in MA63, and pursue power devolution commitments made by the Federal Government led by the then prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
“PBS has already commenced communication with the Gabungan Sarawak leaders to establish common front and platform in parliament on these issues,” said Ongkili.
He added that the party will pursue formal discussion with Gabungan Sarawak and establish a strategic link for PBS and Gabungan Bersatu.
“We believe these political collaboration and strategic alliances will dawn a new era in east Malaysian politics and secure back the political bargain and agreed conditions enshrined in the Malaysia Agreement 1963,” he stressed.