GRS hits the ground running after launch with Sabah First agenda

KOTA KINABALU: The five-party Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) was officially launched on Saturday (May 28), with the coalition considering offering memberships to students and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in its aim to broaden its political reach in the state.

Chief Minister and GRS chairman Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor said these were the measures being seriously examined by the GRS leadership in order to bring in and unite more Sabahans to be part of the coalition’s struggles.

"Besides direct GRS memberships as well as the formation of the women and youth wings, we will consider the formation of the student wing as well as the GRS Plus wing," he said, in his speech during GRS’ grand launch.

He said the GRS Plus wing was targeted to gather political bodies, NGOs and other interested organisations.

"The prerequisite condition is that those interested must share the spirit, agenda and principles of GRS," he added.

The parties that make up GRS are the Sabah chapter of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM), Sabah STAR, Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS), Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) and United Sabah National Organisation (Usno).

Hajiji also outlined the coalition’s four-point thrusts at the launching ceremony here Saturday (May 28), which are aimed at, among others, putting Sabah’s interests as a priority.

Called the "Sabah First" core, he said, the two-pronged approach sets out not only to put the rights and interests of Sabah as the top priorities but also places importance on the various developments needed in the state.

"Sabah First doesn’t mean we will sideline national issues but that our bigger responsibility is to place the fight for the state’s interests as our number one priority.

"We believe that a vital component of the country, the goal of making Sabah more developed, must be elevated as a national agenda in order to guarantee the prosperity and continuity of the Malaysian federation," he said.

Hajiji said the Sabah First core would also be their guiding principle in negotiating for what was owed by the Federal Government to be returned to Sabah as enshrined under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).

The other thrusts were called Sabah Forward, Sabah Prosperity and Sabah United which all work in tandem with the first thrust in prioritising state interest, he said.

Among those present at the launching were PBS president Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili, Sabah STAR president Datuk Seri Dr Jeffrey Kitingan, SAPP president Datuk Seri Yong Teck Lee and Usno president Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia.

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