Pairin bows out by blasting Upko as traitors
Published on: Friday, November 16, 2018

Kota Kinabalu: Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan (pic) in his last message as Parti Bersatu Sabah President issued a stinging reminder that the hopes of the Presidential Council – a common signed KDM political understanding between PBS, Upko, and PBRS to cooperate prior to the general election – was betrayed by one of them at the final moment. The former Chief Minister said if not for Upko, his party and Barisan Nasional (BN) would be the government of the day.

He said Upko's crossing over to join Warisan despite campaigning under the BN before the election was a betrayal and had reneged on the cooperation pact.

"PBS and BN should have been the government. We in BN managed to establish a coalition with Star Sabah and formed the government. But all hopes were crushed when Upko betrayed us.

"The (Upko) party president (Tangau) then still acting took his YBs (assemblymen) to cross over and join (in an) alliance with Parti Warisan so they became the government. To PBS it was a betrayal by Upko.

"After using the BN platform, manifesto and funds, Upko just deserted us like our past partnership meant nothing," he said, applause of delegates at the party's 33rd annual congress opening at the Hakka Hall, Thursday.

He said, however, the party's struggle must go on and it must continue to fight for the State's rights and demand what is rightfully for Sabahans as stipulated under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).

He added PBS' multiracial principal is the ideal platform for political engagement in today's Malaysia.

"We must never give up on this platform. PBS has come up with recommendation fighting for our rights and we will definitely pursue this.

"And on matters related to illegal immigrants, we must instil in our hearts and minds that Sabah is our land, and we are the rightful owners.  

"If we all support and work closely together, victory will be ours, and in time, the gap between Sabah and Malaya will be narrowed."

He said the party still had strong, loyal and capable leaders to lead the party.

"In fact, in times of despair, our YBs did not even move an inch when BN collapsed. Yes, we left BN, but we stick to our ground, we did not lower our principles to satisfy our personal gain.

"We did not do what Upko did, because we respect the voters' wishes. Our supporters voted us when we were carrying the BN flag, because they believed that BN was still the best party to represent them.

"It was just unfortunate that the turn of events also forced us to leave BN. PBS is now an opposition party, we are the opposition … but this is nothing new. We were here before, on the opposition's path, and yet, we pulled through and matured.

Pairin said as the 'father' to PBS, he would like to call on the new leadership, led by Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Johnity Ongkili, to continue the party's struggles.

He said he trusted PBS is in good hands and although there are many unfinished tasks to pursue, Maximus is an experienced leader, and is highly qualified for the post and is ready to shoulder all challenges, adding he strongly believed Maximus will help bring PBS to greater heights.

"Of course, this is possible if each and every one of you give him full support and cooperation, as how you have rendered your services to me for the last 33 years."

Pairin said he believed that the line up will be a combination of both old and new faces.

He also hoped the new line-up, under the leadership of Maximus, would continue the struggle adding that for those who failed in their pursuit, to not despair but continue their good work and help the elected leaders in their struggles.

He said the event was emotional for him as PBS has been his life for 33 years, but that he was proud to finally make way for Maximus to take the helm.

"We will not last for three decades if not for the hard work and struggle of all members and supporters. We have achieved a milestone, especially in voicing out for better development of the state.

"Those of you who stood by me when we formed PBS in 1985 and are still with the party now I truly treasure your loyalty," he said.

He said the party had 10 core struggles but four were especially close to our hearts – unity, multiracial, political integrity and State rights.

"I am proud to say that 33 years on, we have never ceased our fight. We know the 10 core struggles by heart and feel it in our blood," he said.

Meanwhile Maximus said the Congress was indeed a special day for the party.

"For 33 years, Pairin was at the helm, and we are sad to see him leave the chair. There is a motion tomorrow or Saturday to appoint him as a permanent presidential advisor to the party. In this way he gives us access to tap into his experience to advise and guide the party."

Maximus also took the opportunity to express his appreciation to Pairin for his efforts in helming the party leadership all this while and promised that the new party leadership will do its best.

On his future plans, Pairin said he was still working it out alluding that perhaps he may indulge in a round of golf or two or, perhaps, look after his grandchildren.

"With retirement there is so much you can busy yourself with, one of which they keep telling me is to write my book (biography). But, of course, I have to learn to look after myself.

On the suggestion to make him a presidential advisor, Pairin said If the new party leadership wanted to seek his views, he could give it to them but he was also banking on them to come up with innovative approaches so that the party improves, the party machinery improves and the preparation is intensified early. - Neil Chan

Photo Source: Bernama


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