KOTA KINABALU: The restructuring of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) in the state will not see another exodus with ex-Sabah Bersatu leaders led by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor (pic) taking over local based Parti Gagasan Rakyat Sabah.
Bersatu vice-president Datuk Seri Ronald Kiandee said that they did not expect more Bersatu members to leave the party to join Gagasan Rakyat, the new political vehicle of ex-Bersatu leaders.
"Our grassroots at branch levels are still intact. I don't discount some moving but most have remained with us," said Kiandee, who took over as Sabah Bersatu chairman, after Hajiji led a mass exodus out of Bersatu on Dec 8.
Kiandee said that they were in the process of organising the Bersatu divisions where leaders had left the party while most of their branch members had remained in the party.
"We are in the process of appointing some acting division chiefs as part of our re-structure of the party in Sabah," he said when contacted Monday (Jan 30).
Furthermore, he said the party would be holding its annual branch meetings from July 1 to Aug 31 while divisions would hold their meetings on Oct 7 with the party's congress to be held in November.
"With the annual meetings our branches and divisions will be re-structured," he explained.
Dispelling claims that Bersatu was over in Sabah, the Beluran MP said national parties continue to get support of Sabahans who keenly watch the developments in federal politics.
He said Hajiji and other ex-Bersatu leaders had taken the choice of using a local party platform but it would be up to the people to decide during an election.
"Only an election will tell whether the new party will be the people's choice. Just like Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS). How many seats they contested, how many seats they managed to win.
"They (GRS) even lost Tuaran (to Pakatan Harapan), the Chief Minister's constituency," he said, adding that the political narrative for a Sabah-based party to get people's support was a myth.
He said Sabah Bersatu under Perikatan Nasional (with Sabah Progressive Party and PAS) were intact as a coalition that remained a major force in national politics.
"Sabah voters observe what's happening in Peninsular Malaysia and also support national based parties," he said, referring to Perikatan's strong showing in 15th general election.
Gagasan Rakyat, he said, is just following the narratives of local parties like Parti Bersatu Sabah, Sabah STAR, and Parti Warisan among others.