PETALING JAYA: Parti Warisan Sabah (Warisan), which is led by former Umno strongman Shafie Apdal, has dismissed suggestions that it is a proxy for Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
The Sabah-based party’s deputy president Darell Leiking denied the allegations, hitting out at the party’s critics for their “mind games”.
“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. We’re no one’s proxy.
“We set up Warisan, solely to serve the people of Sabah, not Mahathir nor any other organisation or individual,” he said in a text message.
Without naming names, Leiking said Warisan wasn’t in the business of playing “mind games” with the public, unlike “some people” in the opposition who were “comfortable” mixing with “big” Barisan Nasional ministers.
Yesterday, veteran Sabah opposition figure, Jeffrey Kitingan, had warned Sabahans against trusting Warisan on the pretext that they are only a proxy for Mahathir, who is widely seen as the driving force behind the opposition in the peninsula.
Kitingan – who was detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) in 1991 for allegedly being involved in a secession plot when Mahathir was prime minister – said Warisan must be seen by Sabahans as carrying the “Agenda Malaya” and not “Agenda Borneo”.
This is not the first time that such allegations have been made against Shafie and Warisan, which he set up not long after he left Umno in July last year.
Last September too, Leiking, who is Penampang MP, had to defend Shafie and Warisan from claims that he was a proxy for Malaysia’s longest serving prime minister. This was after Shafie decided not to join PPBM and when he launched Warisan.
Mahathir, Muhyiddin Yassin and Shafie were the three most senior Umno men who had dared to criticise Prime Minister Najib Razak over the 1MDB scandal.
Meanwhile, Warisan secretary-general Loretto Padua Jr lashed out at Kitingan, labeling his allegations as an attempt to gain “support and attention” from Kadazandusun Murut (KDM) voters in Sabah’s interiors.
“Perhaps Jeffrey is coming out with these wild allegations as a desperate attempt to divert the attentions of KDM voters away from his involvement with prominent Umno leaders through the My Sabah initiative.”
As of 2010, Department of Statistics figures indicate that 21% of Sabah’s 3.2 million population are from the KDM community.
Loretto also rubbished another claim made by Kitingan – who heads Parti Solidariti Tanah Air (STAR) – that Warisan had a role to play in Parti Cinta Sabah (PCS) leaving the United Sabah Alliance (USA) opposition bloc.
USA comprises STAR, Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP), Parti Harapan Rakyat Sabah and Parti Perpaduan Rakyat Sabah (PPRS).
Last month PCS president Wilfred Bumburing said the party supreme council decided to leave the two-year-old coalition so that it can better facilitate a better working relationship with all Sabah opposition parties to achieve straight fights against the ruling government.
“Warisan had never poisoned, enticed or promised anything to PCS leaders nor discussed anything on the same,” Loretto said in a statement.
With the next general election (GE14) expected to take place soon, Sabah BN, Warisan, Pakatan Harapan and USA are expected to be the main players in the state, and with Warisan seemingly at odds with the likes of Jeffrey and SAPP president Yong Teck Lee, straight fights between the opposition and BN look unlikely.