KOTA KINABALU: United Sabah National Organisation (Usno) has been admitted to the ruling Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) as the coalition gears towards preparation for the 15th General Election.
The GRS supreme council, however, rejected the membership application for Parti Kesejahteraan Demokratik Masyarakat (KDM) led by former Parti Warisan vice-president Datuk Peter Anthony.
The supreme council also rejected the membership applications of Parti Cinta Sabah (PCS) led by former foreign minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman and Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) led by Datuk Chin Su Phin.
Speaking to reporters after chairing the GRS supreme council meeting here Monday (May 9), Chief Minister Datuk Hajiji Noor said that they decided to accept Usno as the party had applied to join since January 2021.
"They have been waiting for over one-and-a-half years," Hajiji said, adding that the supreme council was unanimous in its decision to accept Usno, currently headed by former Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin.
On the rejection of the three other parties, he said that they would maintain friendly relations with the three parties.
"We appreciate the applications from the other parties but the consensus is that we need more time to interact and get to know each other better first," he said.
However, he said that the goodwill with the three parties would continue and they would invite the parties to participate in the official launching of GRS on May 26 and also other GRS events in the future.
KDM led by Anthony hold two state seats while Usno, LDP and PCS do not have any state or Parliament seats.
GRS was officially registered as a coalition in March this year.
The official coalition comprised the Sabah chapter of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia led by Hajiji, Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) led by Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili, Sabah STAR led by Datuk Seri Dr Jeffrey Kitingan, and Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) led by Datuk Seri Yong Teck Lee.
GRS was a loose coalition of about nine parties involving Sabah Perikatan Nasional (four parties), PBS and Barisan Nasional (four parties) that toppled the Warisan state government in the September 2020 snap elections.
The coalition was now known as GRS-Barisan coalition with Barisan - led by Sabah Umno chairman Datuk Bung Moktar Radin - staying out as a formal member of the GRS.
On the position of Perikatan (which includes Bersatu, Sabah STAR, SAPP and PAS) in Sabah, Hajiji declined to comment on the future of the coalition. He only said the focus of Monday's meeting was GRS.
He said the GRS supreme council agreed to the formation of a special committee to work on its solidarity with Sabah Barisan as part of efforts to prepare for GE15.