SANDAKAN: Former Gerakan vice-president Datuk Raymond Tan Shu Kiah has joined Parti Warisan Sabah (Warisan).
The former Sabah deputy chief minister and former Tanjung Papat assemblyman presented his membership application to Warisan president and Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal on Friday (May 3).
Tan is expected to use his influence to lure Gerakan members but reminded those interested to formally quit the party first.
Explaining his move in quitting Gerakan in April, Tan said that was the only choice he had left after the top leadership did not accept his reasons why he was declining to contest the Sandakan by-election.
Tan said he believed that Gerakan should first strengthen its existing branches in the state before planning to contest.
"Shafie asked me if I could join him, and I said I am with you, I have no problem.
"If any party members (from Gerakan) want to join (Warisan), they should quit the party right way," he said at the event at Taman Indah Jaya recreation club.
Asked to clarify on the 35 former Gerakan members who are joining him, Tan said this was based on what was mentioned by Gerakan president Datuk Dr Dominic Lau that the group left the party after Tan quit.
Tan did not elaborate on their status, however, and there were no other membership applications forwarded during the event.
He lost the Tanjung Papar seat in last year's general election to Sabah DAP deputy chairman, Datuk Frankie Poon Ming Fung, who won by a majority of 5,818.
Shafie, meanwhile, said he knew Tan when the latter first started in politics back in 1993 and saw his potential.
"People asked why take him in when he had lost (in the 2018 election?).
"I say do not judge people. Sometimes three votes are all it takes to make a difference (to win). So do not think of our ego," said Shafie during the luncheon to welcome Tan into the party.
He said DAP candidate for Sandakan by-election Vivian Wong has learned how to be accessible to the people from her late father Stephen, who was the Sandakan MP.
"There is no guarantee if Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) will support the amendment in support of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 if they win, but if Vivian wins, I believe she would not hesitate to vote and support any amendment in the interest of Sabah.
"We want to ensure that the DAP candidate will not only secure a win but also with an increased majority.
"This is not Cameron Highlands, this is not Semenyih, this is Sandakan. And Sandakan people are smart," Shafie said, adding that Warisan and its ally DAP must show a united front to present a stable political environment to attract investors.
He shared future plans to visit Japan after the fasting month to bring in investments such as developing the automotive assembly industry and expand Sabah Air.
"PBS can't bring in investors. PBS can't bring anything to Sandakan.
"Who said the Warisan-led government can't run Sabah?
"I have been in federal government for a few terms. Do not tell me I do not know how to run Sabah.
"So now I ask Tan to help me, to help the people of Sabah," said Shafie.