Under pressure, PBS president Pairin Kitingan swears that he "never stopped fighting" for Sabahans' future including championing "Article 20 of the Malaysia Agreement and oil royalties."
KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Deputy Chief Minister Joseph Pairin Kitingan under heavy pressure from his Umno-Barisan Nasional bosses to reel-in his younger and politically ‘wayward’ brother Jeffrey, called him a ‘liar’ and lumped him together with other ‘lying opposition leaders’.
Pairin, who is president of Parti Bersatu Sabah, said his party had “never stopped fighting” for the people.
“”PBS never stopped fighting for the people’s future including Article 20 of Malaysia Agreement and oil royalties…,” he said alluding to Jeffrey’s consistent claim that the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition, of which PBS is a member, had failed to uphold the terms of the 1963 agreement.
Jeffrey, who heads the State Reform Party (STAR) Sabah Chapter, has carved his Borneo Agenda around the demand for the federal government to honour the terms of the Malaysia Agreement, reinstate and recognise Sabah and Sarawak as ‘autonomous’ nations which came together with Singapore and the Federated Malaya to ink the agreement.
Dubbed the ‘state’s autonomy champion’, Jeffrey was imprisoned without trial under the infamous Internal Security Act (ISA) in 1991 for allegedly having secessionist views during the rule of PBS from 1986 to 1994.
Undaunted, the political maverick, has remained at the forefront of the issue and has taken on ‘historians’ and politicians who have disputed his perspectives of the 20-Point agreement.
Yesterday Pairin pleaded with participants at the ‘Pemimpin Bersama Rakyat’ programme in Kampung Dabata in Tambunan saying “the good ties between the federal government and state government must be preserved”.
“Prime Minister Najib’s people friendly leadership has allowed us to raise issues with him including the RCI (Royal Commission of Inquiry against illegals) formation.
“We expressed our feelings and he (Najib) listened. We also raised issues mentioned by the opposition. But (unlike them) we don’t tell lies to people.
“They are lying to the people. You are familiar with them including my own brother (Jeffrey) who keep switching parties claiming it was for the love of the people.
“He (Jeffrey) took his friends from Yayasan Sabah with him and as a result we lost the Kadazandusun people there,” said Pairin.
‘Pairin under pressure’
Pairin’s attack on Jeffrey is seen as a first political swipe in a battle schedule to take place in Keningau in the impending 13th general election.
Keningau is among the hotseats of the Kadazandusun community. STAR has already declared that it will be contesting in all KDM seats.
Jeffrey, himself, has declared that he will again face his brother for the Keningau parliamentary seat.
Pairin, who is the Huguon Siau (paramount leader) of the Kadazandusuan community has held the seat for 30 years. In 2008 Jeffrey took on Pairin for the Keningau parliamentary seat but was defeated.
Meanwhile Jeffrey recently told FMT that Pairin was under “tremendous” pressure from within his party PBS and Umno.
But like Bernard Dompok, who is Upko president, Pairin is not likely to do anything drastic.
“Both Dompok and my brother have lived off (and soaked in) Umno’s benevolence for too long.
“They cannot leave now or do anything to the contrary,” Jeffrey said.
PBS and Upko are seen as the primary victims of Jeffrey’s Borneo Tea Parties (BTP), which is a series of political awareness talks that is anchored in the terms of the Malaysia Agreement and Sabah rights that have been since compromised and or lost as a result of Umno-BN’s ‘fuedal’ policies.
Since its launch in 2010, the BTPs have reached thousands of Sabahans and there is a noticeable change of views permeating the grassroots especially among younger KDMs.
‘Star’s direction crystal clear’
The party’s primary agenda is to convey to Sabahans the ‘true’ socio-economic and political situation in the state and it is doing this through its legion of young and upwardly mobile professionals (yuppie) members who liken themselves to the biblical ‘messengers’.
The BTPs extensive grassroot reach appears to be rattling BN leaders in the state.
In a series of rebuttals recently Jeffrey took on State Legislative Assembly Speaker Salleh Keruak, Sabah BN secretary Rahman Dahlan, Tuaran and Beaufort MPs Wilfred Bumburing and Lajim Ukin for their ‘ignorance’ in regards to the Malaysia Agreement and its importance to Sabah and Sabahans.
Yesterday Jeffrey took Lajim to task for stating that STAR had ‘no clear direction’.
In a curt statement he said: “STAR’s direction is crystal-clear. [In fact, we are] the clearest among all the parties in Sabah.
“STAR Sabah seeks the restoration of Sabah as one of three equal partners in Malaysia and its struggle is made clear with the Borneo Agenda and its seven core demands.
“Sabah and Sarawak did not join Malaysia as the 12th and 13th states.
“It’s regretful that Lajim and Bumburing are still unclear about how to go about with their leadership direction and struggle for Sabah,” he reportedly said .