The three assemblymen in Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) and the seven in Democratic Action Party (DAP) in the state are not short of options if they choose to leave their party and join local parties like their counterparts in Sabah.
Local parties from Barisan Nasional (BN) and the opposition are urging the three PKR state assemblymen – Baru Bian (Ba Kelalan), See Chee How (Batu Lintang) and Ali Biju (Krian) to quit their party to join Sarawak– based parties.
The call came in the wake of resignations of top leaders from Sabah PKR, notably its chairman Datuk Seri Lajim Ukin who quit the peninsula-based party to form his own local-based party to champion Sabah rights.
Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) secretary-general Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom said he was not surprised by the political trend in Sabah because the opposition alliance Pakatan Harapan had been rather fragile all this while.
He said Sabah leaders in PKR and DAP might have realised that their alliance is without strong fundamental ideology but a unification by convenience.
If such trend were to spread to Sarawak, he did not discount the possibility of opening doors to Sarawak opposition leaders including PKR if they were to quit their party “PBB is open to any partyless members irrespective of their past affiliation, including those from PKR as stipulated in our constitution,” he said.
State BN component Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Masing said it is the best time for the three PKR assemblymen in Sarawak to quit unless they still want to continue using PKR as vehicle to contest in the next general election.
Masing, who is also Deputy Chief Minister, said there is no point for them to remain in PKR since the Peninsula-based party was formed with the aim to push for its de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to be the next prime minister.
“I am not surprised why PKR YBs (assemblymen) quit the party. What surprised me is why it took them so long to realise that PKR’s ideology has no real relevance to Sabah and Sarawak.
“The sooner PKR YBs quit the party in Sabah and Sarawak, the sooner we get together and demand our rights as enshrined in Malaysia Agreement 1963, and the better it is for Sabah and Sarawak,” he said.
Meanwhile, two local opposition parties Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak Baru (PBDS Baru) and Sarawak Reform Party (Reform) are also aware of the political trend in Sabah and the possibility of it spreading to Sarawak.
PBDS Baru president Cobbold John Lusoi said the party would gladly accept these PKR lawmakers except for See who is not a Dayak.
He said that Baru was formerly a supreme council member of the original PBDS before it was deregistered in 2004, while Ali was once its ordinary member.
“PBDS Baru hopes that Dayak from PKR, and also DAP seriously consider a local Sarawak party instead supporting Malaya parties,” he said.
Reform president Lina Soo said the party welcomes any members of Peninsula-based parties to join them and participate in their political agenda to seek compliance with the Malaysia Agreement and restore Sarawak as an equal partner to Malaya in the federation.
“Though this trend has just surfaced in Sabah, I hope Sarawak politicians will also come to realise that Sarawak’s interests and rights in Malaysia can only be protected on Sarawak party platforms,” she said.
A total of eleven office-bearers quit Sabah PKR and DAP on Sunday, including three assemblymen.
Apart from the resignation of Klias assemblyman Lajim from PKR, the party’s Sabah chapter information chief and Moyog assemblyman Terrence Siambun said he was leaving PKR for the new party started by former Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal.
PKR vice-president, and Penampang MP Darrell Leiking had earlier quit the party to join Apdal in the new party.
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.
The Borneo Post Online