Peter expected to quit

KOTA KINABALU: A senior Parti Warisan Sabah leader is widely expected to quit the party today to lead a new Sabah-based party that will align itself with the ruling Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) government.

The state has been rife with speculation that Warisan vice-president Datuk Peter Anthony (pic), a strong ally of party president Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal, has decided to go ahead with his move to form a new party.

Peter, a former state minister under the Warisan Plus state government that included Pakatan Harapan, is scheduled to hold a “special” press conference at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport today.

However, Peter, who is Melalap assemblyman, did not respond to calls and messages by The Star.

Party colleagues were also keeping mum, with some indicating that Peter has also not responded to their calls to clarify his position.

According to sources, he is set to lead a new party named Kemakmuran Demokratik Majmuk, which will carry the acronym Parti KDM.

(KDM is a common reference to Sabah’s native Kadazandusun and Murut communities.)

They said the acronym was also in alignment with KDM Malaysia, an NGO that Peter has led over the years prior to joining Shafie in forming Warisan in 2016.

It is still unclear if other assemblymen from Warisan as well as other Opposition parties in the state will be joining Peter, though speculation remains rife.

Peter, 50, is seen as an influential Warisan party leader among the Kadazandusun and Murut communities in Sabah’s interior.

With his widely speculated departure, many political observers say it could be a big blow for Warisan, which has been trying to make political inroads into Sabah’s interior.

For Shafie, who regards Peter as a close friend and ally who stood with him in their struggle against Sabah Barisan Nasional prior to 2018 general election, it would not only be a political setback but a personal blow, sources close to the party leaders said.

Peter is on trial on a charge of falsifying a letter from the office of Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) deputy vice-chancellor for system maintenance contract work at the university in 2014.

On Dec 14, the Sessions Court ordered the former Sabah infrastructure development minister to enter his defence after the prosecution closed its case.

Warisan, which emerged the single largest party winning 23 of the 73 state seats during the September 2020 snap state election, has so far lost three of its assemblymen to defections while a fourth seat, Bugaya, remains vacant following the death of its incumbent.

Two of the three assemblymen – Datuk Mohamaddin Ketapi (Segama rep and also Lahad Datu MP) and Hassan Gani Amir (Sebatik) – have joined Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia while Datuk Dr Yusof Yacob (Sindumin) has not officially joined any party but has thrown his support behind GRS.

The 10-party GRS pact led by Sabah Bersatu chairman Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor has a comfortable majority of 50 seats in the assembly. Attempts are being made to register GRS as a formal coalition.

Meanwhile, Sabah PKR chairman Datuk Christina Liew denied social media claims that she and her fellow PKR assemblyman Peto Galim of Inanam were joining the new party allegedly being set up by Peter.

“No, no, no, I am with PKR and will remain with PKR,” said Liew, who is Api-Api assemblyman and Tawau MP, when contacted.

She said Peto is also firmly with the party and dismissed the political rumours associating them as untrue.

“I don’t know about Peter (his plan to set up a party),” she said.

In a statement earlier, Sabah PKR youth information chief Razeef Rakimin asked those being named on social media (Liew and Peto) to come forward and clear the air.

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