Failed negotiations with Parti Setia appears to have pushed maverick politician Jeffrey Kitingan to the other extreme.
He told a small dinner gathering at his home in Likas over the Labour Day weekend that he will neither lead nor join any political party, at least not in the near future.
The shocking announcement is in stark contrast to his declaration in Entilibon, Telupid, in January that he would have a political party ready and in time for the general election.
Speaking to FMT, the former pro-tem president of the now withdrawn Parti Cinta Sabah (PCS), Daniel John Jambun, who attended the dinner function, confirmed that Jeffrey had informed the gathering that he would not head a political party or join any party now.
“Jeffrey also said he would focus on UBF (United Borneo Front) and convert Barisan Nasional (BN) members to his Borneo Agenda…” Jambun said.
As none of the local press was invited to the dinner, the news of Jeffrey’s latest stance is only just begining to filter through the political grapevine and reaching his supporters around Sabah.
Jeffrey, who is well known for controversial moves, is however tight-lipped.
His only assertion has been that he will lead UBF into converting everybody to his autonomous-seeking stand for both Sabah and Sarawak.
Jeffrey’s plan goes awry
Soon after he left PKR, FMT reported that Jeffrey was in discussions with Henry Sabagong Rumpit, the president of Parti Demokratik Setiahati Kuasa Rakyat Sabah Bersatu or more popularly known as Parti Setia, over a possible takeover.
Many believed then that when Jeffrey spoke of taking over a political party, he was referring to Setia.
But weeks of talks with Rumpit, however, seemed to have hit a stalemate.
It was learnt that while Jeffrey’s supporters wanted a swift takeover, perhaps through an EGM, Rumpit wanted the takeover to take a natural course in which Jeffrey was to have vied for the top post in a party election, which incidentally is now three years away.
Things got worse when a former Setia president, Shuhaidin Langkap, who is said to be still the one recognised by the Registrar of Society (ROS), stepped in.
Although Rumpit is now legally viewed as the legitimate Setia president following a court ruling in his favour, the ROS appears to have not done the needful.
At the dinner function in Likas, Jeffrey left his supporters divided over which route to take.
While some had expressed their desire to belong to a political party, others are uncertain as to whether to follow Jeffrey and UBF’s political education programme.
“Jeffrey would not tell us exactly what to do now.
“In fact, he did say we are free to join any party, or even register a party. But he would not be heading a political party.
“Many who are still in PKR would quit PKR to join him in a party he leads, but now we are no sure…” said a former PKR member who also attended the function.
The member, who asked not to be identified, told FMT that a few of PKR as well as SAPP (Sabah Progressive Party) members were also invited and had attended the Sunday function.
An ardent supporter of Jeffrey from Kudat, Ondon Mangajil, said he felt sorry for Jeffrey’s group for not having a common vehicle to face the impending general election.
“Habislah kalau begini tiada parti...” (This is the end of it if we have no party),” he said.