KOTA KINABALU: Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) can consider working with Parti Warisan if the latter can add weight to the fight for state rights under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).
PBS Youth vice chief Shahrun Nidzam Sharoom said PBS had never swayed from its original political struggle which was to fight for Sabah rights, and kept the door open to cooperation with other parties that share its vision.
He said it could consider working with Parti Warisan, which had expressed its willingness to cooperate in the coming 15th General Election (GE15) several times.
He said this offer seemed more sincere as opposed to what Barisan Nasional is showing now, more so after its chairman and Umno president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) will support Barisan candidates in GE15.
“This statement shows Barisan’s impatience to show its power and ‘alpha status’ among members in the (Sabah ruling) coalition,” Shahrun said.
He added that GRS and Barisan in Sabah had yet to strike a deal on GE15 cooperation, and GRS chairman Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor had also not made an official statement on the matter.
“GRS has mentioned that the cooperation it seeks with Barisan... does not concern the political situation in Peninsular Malaysia,” he said.
Shahrun said Ahmad Zahid’s statement presuming GRS' support was "half-baked" and had caused unease among the coalition's components and political allies.
He also claimed Barisan was trying to influence GRS in the selection of candidates for GE15.
“The (clamour) for seats is quite intense at the moment. It is difficult to come to an agreement and understanding on short notice,” he added.
Shahrun said it would not be easy to give up seats that were traditionally contested and held by the local parties in GRS.
“Warisan has said it would (let PBS have its pick of) seats to contest, and this shows sincerity in wanting to work with us,” he said.
He said it also showed Warisan's respect for PBS as the largest and oldest local party in Sabah.
Previously, PBS president Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili had welcomed Warisan’s offer to work together but subsequently clarified that PBS will continue to be a GRS ally.
He said PBS was willing to work with anyone for the improvement of Sabah, as long as they also worked with GRS.