Published on: Sunday, June 08, 2014
Kota Kinabalu: Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (PBRS) is surprised by MCA's decision to accept independent Luyang Assemblyman, Hiew King Cheu as its member - thus giving the peninsula-based Chinese party its sole State Assembly seat.
Its President Tan Sri Joseph Kurup said while the party respects Dr Hiew's decision to join MCA, the latter had been very vocal in objecting to opposition assemblymen joining the Barisan Nasional fold.
"Dr Hiew applied to join PBRS after meeting me a few times earlier this year. His application went through due process after which it was approved. If Dr Hiew feels that he will be better off in MCA then we respect his decision," he said.
Dr Hiew had said he choose MCA because the party defended the position of the Chinese and, at the same time, served all races.
He said he decided to join MCA after several of the party's leaders in Sabah invited him to join the BN component party.
"As recently as last week, MCA Sabah Adviser Datuk Paul Kong and Wanita Chief Datuk Agnes Shim insisted that all the component parties must unanimously agree before any former opposition elected representative is admitted into BN.
"Is MCA President Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai singing a different tune now?" asked PBRS Sec-Gen Datuk Dr Johnson Tee in a statement.
"I am not surprised at all that he submitted another membership application to MCA as he was actually shopping around for entry to BN via any BN component party," said Tee, who is also a State Deputy Speaker.
As far as PBRS is concerned, Tee said being a disciplined party dedicated to BN's struggle it would never accept anyone without proper vetting.
"In the case of membership application from any elected representative from the opposition party, we will normally discuss with our component parties in BN without resorting to cheap publicity through the press," he said.
Tee said if MCA, being a senior partner in the BN, had accepted Hiew to join the party without the courtesy of proper consultation with other component parties in the BN, "that would be the latest political development in the BN".
"Especially when it was reported that the acceptance has the blessing of the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister," he said.
MCA's previous representation in the State Assembly was through its Sabah liaison Chief Datuk Edward Khoo. However, Khoo lost his Kepayan seat in the last election.
In a related development, Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) is worried that MCA in accepting Hiew had set a precedent for any BN party to take those formerly opposed to BN as a member without considering the feelings of fellow coalition members.
Its Secretary General, Datuk Johnny Mositun said this had opened the door for everyone in BN, including PBS, when facing similar situation in the future.
He suggested that if the BN leadership no longer felt the need for the principle of consensus in such matters, perhaps it could adopt a new "free for all policy."
"By this I mean allowing 'friendly contests' between BN members in future elections. Whoever wins can still be a BN member with no action taken against him or her for opposing the official BN candidate.
"Of course it might benefit the opposition, but then it is my view that BN also cannot have its cake and eat it," he said.
"The Sabah MCA Chief, Wilfred Yong, confirmed acceptance of Hiew's application, claiming MCA had the Prime Minister's and Chief Minister's approval. That is news to PBS and, I am sure, also to other BN component parties," he said.
Mositun noted it was also ironic that the BN candidate which Hiew defeated to win the Luyang state seat on a DAP ticket in the last General Election was none other than Datuk Agnes Shim, who was actually representing MCA.
According to him, PBS had always adhered to the principle of consensus before accepting opposition defectors or parties into the ruling coalition.
"That was a principle adopted by BN itself, not PBS, when BN was formed. It was done to maintain mutual respect, unity and discipline within BN. It was also to uphold the dignity of BN as a respectable, principled and credible coalition," he said.
He said when Umno's Datuk John Ghani stood as an independent for the Kuala Penyu seat in a past general election and won, PBS respected Umno's objections and turned down John's application to rejoin BN via PBS.
"PBS would like to know why this BN principle of consensus based on mutual understanding and respect is not being applied by MCA in this case," he said.
Mositun said Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (PBRS), another BN component party, had put on hold the applications from Hiew and two other state assemblymen, Jelani Hamdan and Jeremy Malajad formerly from Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) based on the same principle.