KOTA KINABALU: The Indian community in Sabah can look forward to having their rights and woes heard with the setting up of a locally based party - Parti Bersatu India Sabah (PBIS) - on Sunday (Jan 6).
Protem president Datuk V. Jothi (pic), who was also the Sabah MIC chairman, said this new party was formed not based on hidden or personal agendas as claimed by some, but following calls by the Indian community in the state.
He said the community feared that they have no platform to voice their problems, following the exodus of its leaders and members from MIC last year, after the change of government.
“The political scenario in Malaysia has changed, and as a result of that, I resigned in July last year and MIC Sabah leaders followed suit,” he said during a press conference to announce the new party.
“However, most of them agreed that the Indian community here need a platform to look after their welfare, and the government-friendly PBIS was born,” Jothi said.
He said the application for Parti Bersatu India Sabah was submitted to the Registrar of Society (RoS) on August 29 last year and is understood to be in its final stage for approval.
Earlier, a former Sabah MIC secretary, Ron Ganasegaran, said the plan to form a new race-based party was unnecessary, as the community's needs could be addressed by any of the multi-racial parties in the state.
Ganasegaran, who was Sabah MIC secretary for three terms from 1999 to 2008, said an Indian party would only serve the interest of the few who were looking for political patronage and personal benefit and urged the Indian community to reject the new party.
On this, Jothi said Ganasegaran had the right to voice his opinion, but PBIS was to serve the Indian community.
Meanwhile, he said PBIS, which is a very small party, will be government-friendly, both at the state and federal levels.
He said the new chief minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal was an accommodating person and a leader for all races.
“We will be paying him a courtesy call as soon as the approval from the Registrar of Societies is received, so we can explain to him what are PBIS’ objective and roles,” he said.
Meanwhile, he thanked the state government for allocating a total of RM100,000 to three temples in Sabah on behalf of the Indian and Hindu communities here.