Another Sabah leader throws his support for Kitingan to become next TYT

Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan - File pic

KOTA KINABALU: A former deputy chief minister is the latest state leader to back a proposal to name Huguan Siou (paramount leader of the Kadazandusun communities) Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan as the next Sabah governor.

Datuk Seri Wilfred M Bumburing, who served as deputy chief minister under the Barisan Nasional state government from 1999 to 2001, said all Sabahans should rally behind the idea of Kitingan being appointed to the position.

“Kitingan is the most senior and experienced candidate fit for the post. It (proposal) is appropriate and timely,” he said in a statement here on Tuesday (Oct 4).

“This proposal for Kitingan to be appointed the next governor should be done in the same spirit as did the late Tun Leong Yew Koh, a Chinese and non-Muslim, who was appointed as the first Yang di-Pertua Negeri of Melaka in 1957,” he added.

The proposal for Kitigan to be the next head of state (TYT) was suggested by the Kadazandusun Cultural Association (KDCA) through its secretary-general Suman Yasambun last week.

Bumburing, who was the Tuaran MP from 2008 to 2013, said Pairin was once the Sabah chief minister as well as a former Member of Parliament (Keningau), besides being the Huguan Siou, a title bestowed upon him by the KDCA.

“It is a clear and straightforward understanding of the Sabah Constitution and Federal Constitution that religion is not a criterion for anyone to be nominated as the Sabah governor.

“The head of Islam religion in Sabah is the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and not the Yang di-Pertua Negeri. The Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) also guarantees freedom of religion for Sabah in the formation of Malaysia,” he added.

Bumburing, who leads the local party Angkatan Perpaduan Sabah (APS), also said it was important and necessary for the Sabah government itself to ratify and implement every important aspect of the provision of the state Constitution and MA63, including the criteria of appointing someone as the Sabah governor.

Many in Sabah have begun to speculate that Kitingan could be in the running as a candidate for Yang di-Pertua Negeri whose incumbent Tun Juhar Mahiruddin's third term ends on Dec 31, 2022.

The speculation was intensified after a photo showing Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor meeting Kitingan at the former’s office in Menara Kinabalu here on Monday (Oct 3).

The Chief Minister's Office did not send out any media statements on the apparently private meeting but the photo was shared on Hajiji’s Facebook page, where he wished Kitingan, aged 82, good health.

Hajiji has yet to officially comment on the suggestion for the founder and president of Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) as a potential choice for the position that has traditionally been held by a native Muslim community member.

Kitingan served as the chief minister between 1985 and 1994 and was part of the state Barisan government between 2002 and 2018.

Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) parties, as well as Barisan, have yet to comment on the proposal by KDCA but Opposition parties Upko and Sabah DAP have come out to support the suggestion.

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