Sabah opposition STAR has refused to endorse Pakatan Rakyat de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim as prime minister if the opposition prevailed in the coming 13th General Election.
The maverick politician urged the opposition Pakatan Rakyat coalition parties – PKR, DAP and PAS – and the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition members – Umno, MCA MIC and Gerakan – to fold up their tents and leave Sabah to Sabahans.
He advised the Peninsula-based opposition parties to instead focus their strength on wresting all the 165 parliamentary seats at stake in the Peninsula and let the opposition here battle it out for the 25 parliamentary seats in Sabah.
“Leave Sabah and Sarawak political parties to stand in the rest 57 (parliamentary seats) in both states and in Labuan. We will know what is best to do for Sabah and help form a federal government when the right time comes,” Jeffrey said when he launched Paginatan Ranau near here Saturday.
“We don’t want to consider Pakatan as our enemy, but we plead to its leaders to consider the fact that it already has ave 165 out of 222 parliamentary seats to contest.
“Why should they still come here and take our Sabah and Sarawak seats?
“Let Sabah and Sarawak political parties contest in the two states and we will support you to get Putrajaya,” he told the more than 400 supporters who attended the function in Kampung Tagudon Baru, Ranau.
Jeffrey singled out PKR in his plea when he said: “If PKR wants to take Sabah and Sarawak seats, it would expose itself to the danger of being labelled as another Umno or even worse than Umno because it wants to take more seats than what Umno already has in Sabah.”
However, the younger brother of Sabah Deputy Chief Minister Joseph Pairin Kitingan, the Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) supremo, refused to endorse Pakatan de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim as prime minister if the opposition prevailed in the coming 13th general election.
Observers note that Jeffrey has left the door open to STAR helping the BN form the next government if it could wrangle a better deal for Sabah from them unlike other opposition parties in the state.
Anwar has Yong’s backing
This is in contrast to another Sabah opposition leader, Yong Teck Lee, who helms the Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP), and has said his party would support Anwar as prime minister if the opposition wins.
Yong and his party have also rejected the all-or-nothing stand by Jeffrey and have indicated that they are willing to let Pakatan contest in two-thirds of the parliamentary seats in Sabah in return for Pakatan’s support for it to contest in two-thirds of the 60 state seats.
STAR’s Ranau division chief, Jalibin Paidi, said while he supports Pakatan to take on the BN in the whole of Peninsula, they were not welcome to do so in Sabah.
“It is not that we are against them but we do not want to be just a stepping-stone for Pakatan to wrest power in Putrajaya, and then forgotten.
“We are not satisfied being treated as mere assistants for them to get into Putrajaya… we want to be the decider on who should be the rightful government,” he said, adding that STAR wants to raise the voice of Sabah and Sarawak in an incoming federal government.
Jalibin, a teacher who recently resigned from his post, is believed poised to be STAR candidate, either in Keranaan state constituency or Ranau parliamentary seat.
Another potential candidate for the party in the Paginatan state constituency is Feddrin Tuliang another teacher who recently resigned.
Local businessman, Kong Soon Choi, hosted the function in the compound of his Sabindo business premises in Tagudon Baru.