KOTA KINABALU: Former state PKR leader Datuk Kong Hong Ming has joined Parti Warisan.
Kong, a former state minister, handed over his application to Warisan president Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal during the party's meet the people session in Tawau on Sunday (Sept 25).
Shafie said that the entry of Kong would strengthen the party in Tawau as he was a capable and experienced state leader.
However, Shafie did not say whether Warisan was eyeing the Tawau parliamentary seat currently held by one-time ally Sabah Pakatan Harapan chairman Datuk Christina Liew.
"We have not made any decisions (on the Tawau seat). As I've said, we are ready for elections whether it is this year or next year.
"We cannot wait until (the election) is called, we are ready," said Shafie.
Warisan, who has broken ties with former allies Pakatan following the 2018 polls, is widely seen clashing with the national opposition party in the 15th General Election (GE15).
Kong, a well known senior lawyer handling native customary land cases, told reporters that he felt comfortable joining Warisan as it was a multiracial party that was championing the rights of the state.
"I've not been with any party (in recent years); my friends and supporters will be joining me," said Kong, who stayed out of politics following a longstanding internal PKR leadership fight against Liew in 2020.
Kong and eight other PKR division chiefs were "suspended" as the group left the party following the political fallout with Liew that has been simmering since 2018.
Coming into politics in 1994 and winning the Tanjong Kapor state seat for Barisan Nasional's Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), Kong became a state minister in the Barisan government that toppled the Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) government.
However, a leadership fight with then LDP president Tan Sri Chong Kah Kiat saw him leave the party a few years later.
Kong had in the 2013 general election contested the Tawau seat on a PKR ticket but lost to Barisan candidate Datuk Mary Yap.
Earlier Sunday in neighbouring Kalabakan district, Shafie also accepted the application to join Warisan from Arbaani Akum, a former Amanah Tawau division leader.