Four GRS MPs to remain direct members, not joining Hajiji in Gagasan Rakyat

(from left) Papar MP Datuk Armizan Mohd Ali, Sipitang MP Datuk Matbali Musah, Batu Sapi MP Khairul Firdaus Akbar Khan (Tourism, Arts and Culture deputy minister) and Ranau MP Datuk Jonathan Yassin.

KOTA KINABALU: Four Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) Members of Parliament will remain with the state coalition as "direct members" and will not join Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor in the takeover of Parti Gagasan Rakyat Sabah.

GRS Papar MP Datuk Armizan Mohd Ali, who is Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, said that there would be no change in their political affiliation as they would remain GRS direct members.

"Our status remains as a member of GRS and we will not join Gagasan Rakyat because the anti-hopping law does not allow us to change.

"We will remain as members through direct membership as before the election, we have been direct members of GRS," he told reporters here after the launch of the GRS student wing by GRS chairman Hajiji on Sunday (Jan 29).

Apart from Armizan, the other three GRS MPs are Deputy Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Khairul Firdaus Akbar Khan (Batu Sapi), Datuk Matbali Musah (Sipitang) and Datuk Jonathan Yassin (Ranau).

Earlier Sunday, Hajiji disclosed that he would be leading Gagasan Rakyat that had been taken over to be the new political vehicle for former Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia Sabah chapter members who quit the party on Dec 8.

Hajiji also disclosed that Gagasan Rakyat was already accepted into the GRS coalition as of Dec 9.

The national Bersatu had attempted to vacate the four MP seats under GRS as the party claimed that the four were Bersatu members that contested under GRS ticket.

However, Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Johari Abdul rejected Bersatu's bid to vacate the seats after the four GRS MPs argued that they were direct members of GRS when they contested the 15th General Election.

On Bersatu's intention to challenge the Speaker's decision that they did not need to vacate the seat to court, Armizan said it was left to the court.

"We leave it to the court to decide, that's their (Bersatu) right.

"The decision on the matter (whether they were in breach of the anti-hopping law ) was under the powers of the Speaker. He has made a decision.

"If they (Bersatu) are still not satisfied, then that is their right to submit the matter to another platform," he added.

However, he said that he had not received any legal notices with regards to the matter.

The position of the four MPs became contentious when Hajiji led the exodus of leaders out of Sabah Bersatu to become GRS direct members.

Bersatu claimed that the four MPs had breached the anti-hopping law but the MPs said that they became direct members of GRS and contested under GRS for the general election.

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