KENINGAU: The reasons for UPKO’s departure from BN is not the same as PBS, Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) Secretary General, Datuk Johnny Mositun points said.
“BN, for all practical purposes, is finished in Sabah. It is only UMNO, or whatever is left of it, that remains, so PBS decided that for now we will revert to being an independent party on our own and pursue the goals on which the party was founded in 1985,” he said after a meeting of the PBS Liawan Division.
“UPKO however betrayed not just the BN but also the voters that supported it in GE14 by joining up with Warisan, DAP and PKR to form the state government. It was pure political opportunism for self-preservation despite claims to the contrary,” he said.
According to him, this was the reason PBS Acting President, Datuk Seri Dr. Maximus Ongkili, described UPKO as a party with a history of betrayals of its friends and allies.
These comments did not go down well with UPKO leaders who countered by accusing PBS of having done the same when it had once left BN to join Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah’s Gagasan Rakyat and again now after GE14, he elaborated.
He said the claim that UPKO had joined Warisan, DAP and PKR because the majority of Sabahans wanted change as indicated by the votes in GE 14 was nothing but an afterthought and very lame excuse.
“Such reasoning is valid only before an election, not after. Up to the last minute UPKO Acting President Datuk Seri Panglima Wilfred Masius Tangau was going around condemning Tun Mahathir and Pakatan Harapan. He praised Datuk Seri Najib Razak for doing more for Sabah than any other Prime Minister, he defended the GST, and his men on the ground were even hurling racial slurs against Warisan and party president Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal. And all this is conveniently forgotten two days after the election?” he queried.
He said the people should recall the confusion about the UPKO assemblymen who at first backed Tan Sri Musa’s claim to the Chief Ministership with support from Datuk Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan
“They were all there, all night till the next day, ready to go to the Istana Negeri. It was the much later that their Acting President came up with another tale of his YBs being prevented from leaving Seri Gaya,” Mositun said.
Mositun said even up to the time it was known Parliament would be dissolved UPKO was part of the discussions among the Barisan Nasional’s KDM parties that decided to back up each other in GE14.
“ Ask Ewon Benedict, who won in Kadamaian. PBS made way for him, gave him their support based on an agreement among the Presidents of the KDM parties. This is another instance of UPKO betraying the trust and support PBS gave them.”
“ What would Nelson Anggang (UPKO Legal Affairs Bureau Head) know about the political turmoil of those years, the might of the Federal Government then, the pressures and persecution that Tan Sri Pairin and PBS faced, the suffering and injustice visited on our state and people in that dark period of Sabah’s history? And he wants to judge PBS, just like Datuk Donald Mojuntin, who should know better,” Mositun said.
Mositun said PBS left BN for Gagasan Rakyat 1990 for a good reason.
“BN was unfair in the distribution of seats to contest. Seats that PBS could easily win were allotted to others. Obviously UMNO was out to weaken PBS, even unseat the PBS government. Ask the former PBS leaders who are now in other parties, including UPKO, they will tell you.”
PBS would not close its doors to those from other parties who wanted to become party members, nor would it reject cooperation with other parties like Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan’s Sabah STAR, he said.
“ But that’s as far as it goes. We’ll accept cooperation, but on our own terms,” he said. Oleh L.S Kuang/BNN