KOTA KINABALU: Veteran Sabah leader Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan is setting the stage to step down as president of Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) which he has led since its formation in 1985.
After facing his first electoral defeat in his stronghold of Tambunan in the May 9 elections, Pairin passed on the Tambunan division chief post to his brother-in-law and PBS vice-president Datuk Daniel Kinsik at the division’s annual general meeting.
Pairin is expected to step aside as party president at the party’s congress in November where his deputy and nephew Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili is expected to take over with a new team of leaders.
Pairin, who was contemplating retirement prior to the May 9 general election, went ahead to defend his Tambunan seat for Barisan Nasional.
However, Pairin, who had held the Tambunan seat since 1976, lost to his younger brother Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan who leads the opposition Parti Solidariti Tanah Air Sabah (Sabah STAR).
In his speech to division members, Pairin said he was confident with the new leadership that would take over the party.
“These are capable leaders and I call on all members to support the new leadership and reclaim our past glory.
“The future successes (of PBS) is dependent on all of us as members and down the line leaders, maju ke hadapan dan jangan ragu-ragu (move forward and never doubt),” he said.
Pairin said that PBS’ struggle of multiracial politics is noble, inclusive and sustainable, which will never be outmoded.
“I urge everyone in PBS to continue with our struggles. Don’t give up,” he added.
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