‘22 Bersatu divisions in Sabah’ claim
Published on: Monday, January 21, 2019
By: Leonard Alaza

KOTA KINABALU: Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) has established 22 divisions in the State with Datu Dr Muhammad Akjan Datu Ali Muhammad, the man who has been calling for the peninsula-based party to spread its wings here, foreseeing the number of members to continue growing by the day.

He claimed that it was the wish of the people to join the over two-year-old party led by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammad as its Chairman.

“We have so far established 22 divisions throughout the State with over 20,000 members. I can say for sure the number will continue to grow,” he told reporters after receiving over 2,000 new members, here, Sunday. Some of them joined as life members of the party.

Akjan said the latest batch of new members were from Lahad Datu, Kinabatangan, Batu Sapi, Libaran, Pensiangan, Penampang, Putatan, Kudat, Kota Belud and Sepanggar.

The issue about Bersatu’s entry into Sabah has been hotly debated within political circles in the State, with Parti Warisan Sabah President Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal recently expressing hope that the party would keep its promise not to make such move.

“It’s their (Parti Warisan) right to say they don’t want Bersatu to come to Sabah. But I have also the right to convey the wishes of the people. Their wish is to join a party of their choice and have it established in Sabah,” said Akjan. He reiterated that Bersatu should not be seen as a threat by Parti Warisan and its allies.

“As I’ve already explained, with Bersatu in Sabah, there will be check and balance. This is what the people want. Let’s not forget that the people voted for this government and in return, they expect them to work and deliver their promises.

“The people also want their leaders to have a genuine heart to serve. Bersatu can help Parti Warisan and State Government leaders to stay on this track so that in the next general election, they will remain to be the people’s choice,” he said.

Dr Mahathir had reportedly said in December that although Bersatu had no plans to come to Sabah, the people in the State could join the party.  

But he had also said that the party would not simply accept everyone without first reviewing their applications. 

Akjan, who is the Chairman of Pertubuhan Kebajikan Dakwah Islamiah Negeri Sabah (Perkida Sabah) – a Muslim NGO – had previously claimed there was a high demand from the people in Sabah for Bersatu and was confident that many Muslims in the State would join as they believed the party suits best their aspirations, interest, welfare and needs, and would address their problems and plight.

His call was supported by two Sabah Suluk organisations - Pertubuhan Permuafakatan & Perpaduan Masyarakat Peranakan Suluk Bajau Sabah (PPSBS) and Dewan Perniagaan Suluk Sabah (DPSS) - both of which had said they believed Bersatu was the best party to represent them as "pribumi" (natives).

They had argued that there was no reason Bersatu could not set foot in the State because other peninsula-based political parties like Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), Democratic Action Party (DAP) and Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) have been here for a long time now, with the latest addition of another peninsula-based party, Amanah.

Meanwhile, former Sabah Public Complaints Bureau Director Dato Sri Jenar Lamdah, who has joined Bersatu, echoed Akjan’s statement that the party is not in conflict with Warisan as it only wants to be a political vehicle for the Bumiputera in Sabah.

“Warisan is a multiracial party whereas Bersatu is a Bumiputera party. We take care of the Bumiputera,” he said.

Libaran division chief Nordin Ariffin said Bersatu can play the role in relation to high-impact Federal Government projects and to ensure their implementation would directly benefit the people.

He also concurred with Akjan that it was the people who wanted to join Bersatu based on his experience in Libaran.

Kinabatangan division chief Awang Asfar Liwangsa, however, said most of the 700 members in his area joined the party because they had been feeling neglected. - Leonard Alaza



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