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Sabah opposition drops ‘single, big’ party plan
Published on: Monday, February 17, 2020
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KOTA KINABALU: The opposition’s plan to merge their parties to form a larger party has been dropped, said Star Sabah President Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan (pic) Sunday.

He said a discussion held by opposition leaders on Saturday decided that established parties would form a coalition while the smaller parties would be merged to form a new party.

Jeffrey said just like Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) President Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili, he was not too keen to dissolve his Star Sabah to realise the “single and big” party goal. Ongkili had said his party could not be dissolved as it is more than 30 years old and closely linked to the history of Sabah.

Jeffrey said Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) leader Datuk Yong Teck Lee was also opposed to the idea.

“The merging of the parties was one of the earlier suggestions but that was changed at the follow-up meeting held yesterday (Saturday).

“We have decided that the inactive parties should be merged. The established ones can be part of the coalition.

“The plan is for all the opposition leaders and parties to be able to work towards having straight fights in the 15th general election,” he told FMT when met at the Sabah MCA Chinese New Year luncheon, here, Sunday.

The “inactive” parties would be Parti Cinta Sabah, Parti Gagasan Rakyat Sabah and Parti Kerjasama Anak Negeri.

The established parties that Jeffrey referred to could be PBS, PBRS and his party, Sabah Star.

On Saturday night, PBS said it was not involved in the “single party” idea, which was discussed at the first meeting of opposition leaders, chaired by former Kimanis MP Anifah Aman, on Feb 10.

The opposition leaders involved in the alliance talks were Jeffrey, Yong (SAPP), Datuk Wilfred Bumburing (Parti Cinta Sabah), Datuk Francis Goh (Parti Gagasan Rakyat Sabah Adviser) and Datuk Henrynus Amin (Parti Kerjasama Anak Negeri President).

Others present included Sabah Star Bingkor Assemblyman Robert Tawik, former Upko leader Datuk Marcus Mojigoh, Nabawan Assemblyman Datuk Ellron Angin, former Petagas representative Datuk James Ligunjang and Sabah MCA leader Dr Pamela Yong. Upko Supreme Council member Datuk Ewon Ebin was also there at the meeting.

The meeting called “Perpaduan Rakyat” had been considered one of the largest gatherings held by the heads of Sabah political parties since the mass exodus of Sabah Umno leaders in December 2018.

Jeffrey said the proposed coalition would be called Gabungan Sabah (GS), adding it was the name that is in the process of being registered with the Registrar of Societies.

Jeffrey also hoped that PBS would change its mind and support the formation of GS.

Sabah opposition parties had been in disarray after the 2018 general election, which resulted in Barisan Nasional, the former ruling coalition, being almost totally eliminated.

Parties like Upko, PBS, PBRS and LDP had ditched BN one by one after GE14, while Sabah MIC was dissolved. This left only Sabah Umno and MCA as components in Sabah BN.


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