Close ranks and get set for state polls, says new Sabah PKR chief Mustapha

KOTA KINABALU: Newly-appointed Sabah PKR chairman Datuk Mustapha Sakmud has called for all party members to close ranks to prepare for the state election.

Mustapha takes the helm from Datuk Dr Sangkar Rasam, who faced a rebellion from 15 of the 26 Sabah and Labuan PKR divisions which had called for his ouster for failing to strengthen the party in the state.

"I call on... the party throughout Sabah to close ranks for our struggle. We must all unite under the leadership of the Prime Minister to raise the dignity of the people and country," he said in a statement on Monday (May 27).

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He said it was time for Sabah PKR to focus on fighting for the rights of Sabahans in line with the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).

Mustapha, who is Deputy Higher Education Minister, also gave his assurance that Sabah PKR and its state Pakatan Harapan partners will continue to support the state government led by Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) chairman Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor until the dissolution of the legislative assembly due in September next year.

He said his appointment as state PKR chairman was a responsibility and not a privilege.

"This appointment reflects the party's commitment toward democratic practices while also aimed at nurturing and promoting local needs," he added.

He said Sabah PKR will hold a special convention soon, along with regular programmes to strengthen the machinery in preparation for the upcoming state election that could be called at any time.

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Sangkar, who generally kept a low political profile since his appointment as Sabah PKR chairman in 2022, remained adamant after 15 division chiefs demanded his resignation earlier this year.

Most of the rebelling division chiefs had indicated support for Mustapha, the Sepanggar MP, but left the decision to party president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Sangkar could not be reached immediately for comments over his removal as state PKR chairman.

PKR information chief and Communications Minister Fahmi Fadzil had said earlier that the party's central council decided upon leadership changes involving seven states and territories in a meeting on Sunday (May 26).

Aside from Sabah, the Sarawak, Pahang, Johor, Terengganu, Kelantan and Federal Territories chapters were also involved in the reshuffle.

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