KOTA KINABALU: Parti Warisan Sabah would love to work with one of the state’s oldest local parties, Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS), if given the opportunity.
Warisan president Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal (pic) said PBS’ vision and objectives for the state and its people are clear, and that is one reason why he felt that Warisan and its partners can work with the party.
"However, we cannot work alone. We still need to align with other national parties that also have Sabah’s interests at heart as well because we are building a nation, ” he said during a virtual press conference on Tuesday (May 11).
The former Sabah chief minister and Semporna MP, who is also Senallang assemblyman, said this after he was asked about talks that Warisan and Umno are looking at working together for the next general election.
On Umno-Warisan collaboration, Shafie said he has yet to speak to anyone on this but for him, it is better to strengthen their own house first before focusing on other people’s parties.
“We need to build our own house first, strengthen our party and don’t worry about other people’s house yet, ” he said.
“But with people asking if there's a party that I'd like to work with, I'd say why not PBS because look at Sarawak, if you have a strong footing at home, then it’d be good for the state, ” he said.
Shafie, however, added that the remarks were only his personal thoughts and he had not spoken to anyone, not even his party members, about this yet but that he was only wondering if there was a possibility of working with PBS.
He stressed the need to work with parties that are not solely concerned about positions or who will become the next Prime Minister, but those that will help Sabah achieve its constitutional rights.
“I don’t think there will be a single party that can form the government alone, ” he added.
On talk that Warisan is trying to get former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad into the party, Shafie said he is not aware of this matter but agreed that they have no problem working with anyone if the person has Sabah and Sarawak’s best interests in mind.
“Do not take Sabah and Sarawak for granted. We want to build a nation and looking at what’s happening with the country now, I am really concerned for its economic and health welfare, ” he said.
To a question on whether Sabahans leaders were ready to be a prime minister, he replied that in fact, not only Sabah but Sarawak too has capable leaders to steer the nation and the only thing stopping them is "an opportunity to be up there".
“I am not talking about myself but if they choose me to be PM, why not, ” he said, adding that it is about time that Sabah and Sarawak leaders took the lead.
Earlier at the press conference, Shafie suggested a more coordinated strategy to be taken to tackle Covid-19-related matters in order to prevent the issuing of last-minute instructions such as implementing lockdowns and prohibiting interstate or inter-district travels for festive seasons.
"The pandemic has hit the world for over a year and the government should therefore be able to plan ahead in terms of their restrictions and policies, before and after festivals and so on," he said.
Shafie said the government should also consider opening up vaccination to everyone who wishes to take it.