KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Barisan Nasional chief Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin says he is skipping the launching ceremony of Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) on Saturday (May 28) due to work commitments.
Bung, who is Deputy Chief Minister in the state GRS-Barisan Nasional led coalition government, said he had more important ministerial commitments to attend to and that Barisan was not part of the GRS coalition.
“I will not be attending the GRS launching because we are not part of GRS," he said, adding that he had an official groundbreaking ceremony event that coincided with the launch of GRS.
“I believe matters about GRS should be dealt with by their parties. We (Barisan) will deal with our coalition matters,” Bung, who is Sabah Umno chairman, told reporters after launching the construction for the new Sabah Ports Board office here.
Bung said that he was not unduly worried about any "negative perceptions" that may arise with his absence at the launching of GRS led by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor, who is also Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia Sabah chapter chairman.
However, he said that it was not unusual for friendly leaders to not attend each other’s functions in Sabah.
GRS comprises Bersatu, Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) led by Datuk Seri Maximus Ongkili, Sabah STAR led by Datuk Seri Dr Jeffrey Kitingan, Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) led by Datuk Seri Yong Teck Lee and the recently admitted United Sabah National Organisation (Usno) led by Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia.
GRS was registered in March this year.
GRS was initially a loose coalition of 10 parties involving Barisan, Perikatan Nasional and PBS that won the state government in the September 2020 snap state election.
Barisan stayed out of GRS, explaining that the former was a coalition by itself and could not join another coalition.
However with Barisan and Perikatan going separate ways at the national level, questions are still being asked about relations between Umno and the Bersatu-led GRS in Sabah ahead of the 15th General Election.