Tian Chua: PKR in talks with Shafie’s new party

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KUALA LUMPUR: Former Umno leader Shafie Apdal’s new party will work alongside the Federal Opposition pact Pakatan Harapan in Sabah, PKR Vice-President Tian Chua said today.

Tian Chua told this to reporters in explaining that the resignation of Penampang MP Darell Leiking from PKR is not a sign that the party is losing its base in Sabah.

“It (Shafie’s new party) is also our friendly party. We have also discussed this with Shafie.

“In the current situation, Sabahans need a stronger local voice and he (Darell) wanted to concentrate on state politics rather than national politics,” Chua said.

“Of course, that is very much his (Darell) personal decision, which platform he’s going to compete on,” Tian Chua added.

Shafie had announced this morning that he has set up a new multiracial party which will replace an existing Sabah-based party.

The former rural and regional development minister refused to reveal the name of the new party, but said it will fight on local issues there.

Darell, the only PKR MP in Sabah, had accompanied Shafie when the latter submitted the necessary forms to the Registrar of Societies (RoS) in Putrajaya.

When asked if he expected more Sabah PKR members to follow in Darell’s footsteps, Tian Chua said: “No. I think, we will adopt some formula with Shafie.

“Some of the leaders will probably be in his party, while some of us will be in our party. We have to work it out.

“It would depend on how national is a national issue, and how state is a state issue. Of course, PKR always believes that there is no conflict in the narrative of state autonomy and national politics.

“Because we believe that without change at the national level, there will be no genuine autonomy for either Sabah or Sarawak.”

Tian Chua added that PKR had tried its best to address issues affecting the people of Sabah, but no reform will be perfect as there will always be room for improvement.

“I think PKR in Sabah will continue to grow and, as I said, we are coordinating (with Shafie’s party) and we are continuously working out a broad-based coalition.

“I think the formula to fight against Barisan Nasional in Sabah and Sarawak has always been about the necessity of having a local element.

“So we always welcome cooperation with local parties. Not only with Shafie’s party, but also with other local parties,” Tian Chua said.