KOTA KINABALU: Datuk Darell Leiking made a rallying call to Parti Warisan members not to allow the internal polls to divide the party ahead of the 15th General Election (GE15) during its annual general meeting (AGM) on Friday (Aug 26).
The Warisan deputy president acknowledged that party elections could be divisive for members and have a negative impact on Warisan as it prepared to face GE15.
He said there were discussions involving himself and Warisan president Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal, Warisan secretary-general Datuk Loretto Padua Jr as well as the party vice-presidents Datuk Jaujan Sambakong and Datuk Junz Wong over not having the party polls before GE15.
As such, he added, Warisan had applied to the Registrar of Societies (ROS) to postpone its AGM and party polls, which were due this year, but it was rejected by ROS.
“We always say after the party election that ‘we must unite and come together’ but there may be misunderstandings,” Leiking said when launching the party’s Wira, Wanita and Wirawati wings’ meetings at KDCA Hall in Penampang near here.
“But it’s okay, democracy must live. But guided democracy must also live.
“Remember, whoever doesn’t win after the party polls must not give up. You are Warisan and your services are needed.
“There is no reason (those who don’t win) should be sidelined. We have seen people who had won and went on to become YBs (elected representatives) but later became ‘katak’ (party hoppers),” he added.
Leiking said he understood that it was not easy to be united after the party elections but pointed out it was their duties and responsibilities to close ranks with their rivals in the party, for the better good of Sabah and Malaysia.
Towards this end, he called on party members to focus on GE15 after the Warisan polls, in line with their AGM theme, “Bersepadu Menuju Pilihanraya” (United in Facing the Election).
The Penampang MP also told members not to allow race and religion as well as geographical location to split them.
“People had claimed last time that Warisan only belonged to Darell and Shafie, joking the acronym PWS (Parti Warisan Sabah) supposedly stood for Penampang With Semporna,” he said, referring to Shafie as the Semporna MP.
“That is not right. Warisan consists of all of us in Sabah and in the Malaysian federation, a party that will bring excellence not only to Sabah, but the rest of the country if a leader like Shafie is given the opportunity to lead Malaysia after GE15,” he added.
Leiking also advised members not to fall into money politics, saying he was concerned that there were allegedly such practices in the party.
“This was the very practice rejected by Warisan during the party’s formation. I know we need to look for money and work but when there are leaders who pay for votes, it will become a problem for the party ... let’s not become like other parties,” he said.
During a press conference later, Leiking said, however, he believed the party was clean from money politics.
The former federal minister also said he was encouraged by the turnout for the Wira, Wanita and Wirawati meetings on Friday, adding that he was confident there will be more in Saturday’s (Aug 27) main AGM.
“Tomorrow will be the highlight of the AGM (which will be launched by Shafie). We are proud of the spirit shown by members and this shows the party is ready to face GE15,” he said.
He added there were uncertainties if the election would be called soon but that Warisan should always be prepared to face such circumstances.