Kota Marudu Member of Parliament

PBS lauds 'brave decision' of Sabah Umno leaders to break 'free'

KOTA KINABALU: Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) welcomes the "brave and bold decision" of most of Sabah Umno's elected representatives and division chiefs to leave the party on Wednesday (Dec 12).

PBS president Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili said they have finally decided to follow PBS’ footsteps in going "bebas" (free) and independent.

“We will wait and see the development that follows,” he added.

On Wednesday (Dec 12), nine out of 10 of Sabah Umno assemblymen quit the party, along with five of six MPs and two senators.

Twenty-one of the 25 division heads have also quit to join the exodus. They expect more than half of the 500,000 registered members to follow suit.

After the latest development, Dr Ongkili said, for now, the local opposition political alliance Gabungan Bersatu Sabah (GBS) will continue without Sabah Umno.

Any further moves will wait till "the dust has settled" on the former Umno leaders who are now without a party.

“Meantime, PBS will stick to its own agenda by strengthening its grassroots and continue putting the state government on the (questioning) stand so they govern responsibly,” he said in a statement on Wednesday (Dec 12).

“PBS will support what's good for the people, but oppose all that's destructive to Sabah,” said Dr Ongkili, who is also the Kota Marudu Member of Parliament.

While wishing the former Sabah Umno leaders all the best in their new political move, he also hoped and prayed that, together, their struggle will always be "Sabah for Sabahans First, then Other Malaysians".

Most important, stressed Dr Ongkili, was the need to protect Sabah from uninvited foreigners, and to clear out illegal immigrants from the state.

“We maintain our stand that the Warisan-led state government did not earn the mandate of the Sabah voters,” he said.

“They are now the government because of Upko's jump, which forced the then Barisan Nasional parties to the opposition bench,” he said.

He added that PBS elected leaders will remain principled and responsible to their grassroots.

On whether PBS intends to have any alignment at federal or state governments, he said the matter will only be considered after consultation with the grassroots and evaluation of the benefits for the people.

Any decision will also be made in strict adherence to "respectable and principled" political action, said Dr Ongkili.

Meanwhile, former federal minister Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak said his decision to leave with his fellow colleagues in Sabah Umno was after considering the political realities in the country.

“I decided to leave Umno, so that we can focus on the future of Sabah and ensure its growth and development. 

"For this to happen, we need to build a strong relationship between the State and Federal Governments,” he added.

Source : TheStar