PBS: Local parties better positioned to develop Sabah

SANDAKAN: Opposition Parti Bersatu Sabah prefers local-based parties to rule the state as their leaders would be better positioned to develop the state, it says with the possibility of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia setting up shop in Sabah.

PBS president Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili said that though there were no restrictions for any party to extend their presence into Sabah, he felt that local-based parties were the best choice for the people of the state.

 “It is important as the people of Sabah must unite and fight for their rights,” he told reporters in east coast Sandakan where the party’s Chinese New Year open house was held on Wednesday (Feb 13).

“I believe the impact is bigger if the people of Sabah take the lead through an existing party such as PBS,” he said.

Bersatu president Tun Dr Mahahthir Mohamad had, on Tuesday (Feb 12) said that the party would decide for itself whether they would move into Sabah amid moves by former Sabah Umno lawmakers and divisions chiefs to welcome Bersatu to the state.

On Dec 12, nine assemblymen, five MPs and two Senators left Umno to position themselves as independents, with an eye at bringing Bersatu to Sabah.

However, one of the assemblymen has joined Parti Warisan Sabah led by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal, while some of the others are expected to follow amid doubts over Bersatu spreading its wings to Sabah.

The former Sabah Umno lawmakers remain uncertain of their next political move with some planning to join existing local parties such as Warisan or forming a new party among themselves or even joining former Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman, who is apparently looking at taking over an existing local party or forming a new party.

Bersatu’s move to Sabah has been resisted by not only Warisan, but also Sabah-based DAP and PKR, who are coalition partners in the state government.

Shafie, who has said that they could not stop Bersatu from coming to Sabah, hoped the party would maintain its pre-May 9 general election understanding to leave Warisan to handle Sabah.

Former Chief Minister Datuk Seri Yong Teck Lee said in a statement Wednesday (Feb 13) that the Prime Minister’s brushing aside Shafie’s views about Bersatu coming to Sabah cast serious doubt on the Pakatan Harapan-led federal government promises to restore Sabah rights.