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PBS, Sabah STAR sign MOU towards political unity for Sabah's native communities

Publish date: Thu, 18 Apr 2024, 10:50 PM

KOTA KINABALU: Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) and Sabah STAR took their first step towards forging political unity that had eluded the native communities for the last three decades.

The two major parties, Sabah STAR, led by its president Datuk Seri Dr Jeffrey Kitingan, and PBS, led by its deputy president Datuk Seri Dr Joachim Gunsalam, inked a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to cooperate in the coming election.

Kadazandusun Huguan Siou (Paramount Leader) Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan, who witnessed the agreement's inking, told the party leaders to work hard to ensure political unity for the good of Sabah.

"Don't disappoint us again," said Pairin, who added that failing to unite would only lead to others taking advantage of the divide and could splinter the people.

Pairin told the senior leaders of both parties to work hard and learn from past mistakes.

"I am sorry to say that there is not much time to sleep well; it is time to work hard. The follow-through of this MOU is important.

"This collaboration is not restricted to the election. Forget what has happened in the past. Let us move forward and make this happen, " said Pairin, whose PBS state government (1985-94) fell in 1994, saw the mainly Kadazandusun, Murut and Rungus leaders fracturing to lead smaller native-based parties. 

Joachim, who has been holding the PBS fort on behalf of ailing president Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili, said that the MOU was needed as the people wanted unity among the Kadazandusun, Murut and Rungus communities.

Jeffrey said that the unity between Sabah STAR and PBS was important because in the last 2020 state election, the two parties, though under the banner of Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS), ended up fielding candidates against each other.

He said through MOU, they will form a joint council to decide as one on not only seats but also other issues.

Jeffrey said that they do not want to be seen as strictly a non-Muslim native party but prefer to reflect all Sabahans.

In 2018, PBS, Upko, and Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (PBRS) teamed up to form a unity under Barisan Nasional. However, after the 2018 state election, Upko left Barisan to form the state government with Parti Warisan and Pakatan Harapan.

Sabah STAR was part of the opposition during the 2018 election but had moved in to team up with Barisan after the results left a hung assembly.

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