Since the appointment of deputy chief minister Yee Moh Chai from PBS, there's been no end to the internal bickering within Sabah Barisan Nasional.
KOTA KINABALU: The prickly relationship within the Sabah Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition is not about to go away anytime soon.
The youngest ruling coalition partner, Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS), has once again come under fire for not owning up to its past “blunders” and for riding on the goodwill of fellow BN members.
Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (PBRS), a splinter group of PBS that was set up by former PBS member, Joseph Kurup, after the fall of the government in 1994, today critisised a top PBS official for denying that it committed a “misdeed” when it pulled out of the BN in 1990.
“Pulling out of BN on the eve of the 1990 general election was a mistake and a misdeed,” PBRS secretary-general Dr Johnson Tee said.
He was responding to PBS information chief, Johnny Mositun, who denied that the pullout was a “misdeed”.
Tee said that he stood by what he said, adding that by using the word “misdeed” he meant an action that was wrong and wicked.
“We stand by our contention that the act was a mistake and also a misdeed. Let it be known that a week before the election in 1990, PBS pulled out of BN, citing unfair treatment as the reason for the move and thereafter formed an alliance with Gagasan Rakyat.
“It was the then prime minister and BN leader, Dr Mahathir (Mohamad) who described it as ‘a stab in the back’ and Najib Tun Razak called it “biadap” (rude) because the decision was made at the eleventh hour, seriously damaging BN’s chances in the election.
“If this is not misdeed, then what is it?
“Of course, that was history and we confidently believe PBS has repented and it is time for Kadazandusun and Murut in PBS, Upko and PBRS to work out a formula for greater unity among the races,” Tee added.
Don’t prolong issue
Mositun, who is also Sabah State Legislative Assembly deputy speaker, on Thursday chided his BN colleague for describing the pullout as a misdeed.
Mositun pointed out that Chief Minister Musa Aman in his statement calling for the leaders and people of Sabah to forgive and forget the misdeeds committed by PBS and its leaders in the past, had never used the word “misdeed” as Tee claimed.
“It is unbecoming of Tee to use such a condescending and patronising tone to comment on this issue. The matter should have been put to rest after the chief minister had made his views known.”
“There is a world of difference between ‘misdeed’ and ‘mistake’ and Tee should know that,” Mositun said.
However, Tee expressed regret that Mositun had conveniently misconstrued his statement, which was meant to be friendly and to close the chapter on further incriminating PBS for leaving the BN.
“We urge Moisitun not to prolong the issue, as people who live in glass houses should not throw stones,” he said.
PBS has come under a spate of attacks within the ruling coalition following the elevation of another of its members to a top state Cabinet post at the expense of a more senior coalition member.
The backlash comes following the surprise appointment of Yee Moh Chai, who is PBS deputy president, as deputy chief minister, the second such post given to the party by Musa and the ejection of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) from his Cabinet.
Over the weekend, Pantai Manis Umno chief Rahim Ismail lashed out at PBS leader Joseph Pairin Kitingan, who is also a deputy chief minister, as solely responsible for Sabah’s stagnation after the party’s pullout from the BN in 1990.
PBS officials had earlier attempted to shift the blame for the pullout that eventually led to the government’s collapse in 1994 and the entry of Umno into Sabah politics, to three other PBS members.