Sarawak-based parties on both sides of the political fence sought to entice three assemblymen from the state PKR chapter to join them, following the exit of 11 Sabah Pakatan Harapan party leaders for local platforms yesterday.
A political trend appears to have started in East Malaysia recently with political leaders leaving their peninsula-based parties to set up their own local-based parties championing Borneo rights and Sarawak has not been spared.
“It is best for them to quit PKR and join BN via Parti Rakyat Sarawak,” its president Tan Sri Dr James Masing told Malay Mail Online yesterday.
Masing who is also Sarawak deputy chief minister sneered at the history behind PKR’s establishment, claiming the Opposition party had no real objective except to push for its de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to be the next prime minister, taking over from Umno.
“It is vengeance against Umno and is nothing to do with policy differences.
“Sarawak PKR has nothing to do with such vengeance since there is no Umno in the state,” he said.
As such, there is no point for its assemblymen, Baru Bian for Ba’Kelalan, See Chee How for Batu Lintang and Ali Bijiu for Krian, to remain in PKR, the Sarawak Barisan Nasional leader added.
Masing also said he was not surprised when Datuk Seri Lajim Ukin, Moyog assemblyman Terrence Siambun and Penampang MP Darell Leiking announced their resignations from Sabah PKR.
Another political leader who extended an invitation to the assemblymen was Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS Baru) president Cobbold John Lusoi, but for the Opposition.
“We will gladly accept them if they decide to join us,” he told Malay Mail Online.
Lusoi added that both Baru, who is currently Sarawak PKR chief, and Ali were former members of the original PBDS before its deregistration as a political party in 2004.
But Lusoi clarified that the invitation excluded See because he was not a Dayak.
Baru and See, who is Sarawak PKR vice-chairman, could not be reached for comments.
But See had told reporters last Friday — when rumours of the Sabah Pakatan Harapan leaders’ exit started circulating — that he, Baru and Ali were still with PKR “at this moment”.
“We will tell you if there is any latest development,” he said then.
Among the active local-based Opposition newcomers to Sarawak’s political scene are PBDS Baru and the Sarawak Reform Party.
The state has other local-based outfits, like the Sarawak Workers Party, Party Peace and Parti Ekonomi Sarawak. However, they have been low-key in recent years.
A total of eleven office-bearers quit Sabah PKR and the DAP yesterday, including three assemblymen.
Datuk Lajim Ukin, who is also Klias assemblyman, quit as Sabah PKR chief to form his own party, while Moyog assemblyman Terrence Siambun said he was leaving PKR for the new party started by former Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal.
Datuk Maijol Mahap quit as Sabah PKR state secretary and Johair Matlani the state chapter’s Wanita chief.
Seven Sabah DAP leaders also resigned, including Likas assemblyman Junz Wong who quit his secretary position in the state chapter, but said he has yet to decide on his next political move.