Sabah opposition raps Ongkili, PBS over PAS rep

Upko Youth chief Felix Joseph Saang (left) said PBS president Maximus Ongkili should have continued to oppose the appointment of PAS rep Aliakbar Gulasan (Centre).

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah opposition leaders have taken PBS president Maximus Ongkili to task over the party’s acceptance of a PAS nominated assemblyman.

Ongkili had yesterday said he was confident Sabah PAS secretary Aliakbar Gulasan would use his position as a nominated assemblyman to disprove misconceptions about the party in the state.

While understanding the public’s concerns over the appointment of a PAS member as one of the six nominated assemblymen, he urged the people to trust the decision of Chief Minister Hajiji Noor.

However, Upko Youth chief Felix Joseph Saang slammed PBS for not having a clear stand on the appointment despite Ongkili initially stating PBS was against the appointment.

Christina Liew.

According to Saang, PBS should have stood by its previous stand in strongly objecting to the appointment of a PAS member as a nominated assemblyman.

“In fact, in his previous statement, he (Ongkili) himself said that there was no basis for a PAS member to be appointed as a nominated assemblyman as the party is a religious-based party and unsuitable for Sabah,” he said in a statement here today.

“However, now they have agreed to it. Why not defend their stand?”

Yesterday, Ongkili called on the people of Sabah to unite, cooperate and give all their support to Hajiji and his new Cabinet over the decision to appoint the PAS member as a nominated assemblyman.

He said the party was looking forward to working with the PAS representative who has a good background in academia.

But Ongkili, who is federal minister for Sabah and Sarawak affairs, said PBS had stated its stand from the beginning over setting a precedent of appointing a representative from a Malaya-based religious party as a member of the state assembly without even participating in the election.

Saang explained that the people are not against Islam but that they fully objected to PAS’ extreme beliefs as it could harm the existing harmony in Sabah.

“Maybe some would say that PAS had been in Sabah for a long time, even before Umno. But one thing we have to realise is that PAS has never won a single seat.

“This clearly proves that the people of Sabah have been rejecting the party for a long time now,” he said.

Sabah PKR chief Christina Liew also hit out at Ongkili, particularly over his remark that PBS will play a monitoring and balancing role to address the people’s concerns over the inclusion of PAS in the state assembly.

Liew, a deputy chief minister in the previous government, wondered how PBS would be able to execute that role.

“Ongkili could not even stop the PAS representative’s appointment despite so many objections raised on the ground and by NGOs as well as concerned elected representatives.”