KOTA KINABALU: Parti Cinta Sabah (PCS) president Wilfred Bumburing has denied pulling out of negotiations with Parti Warisan Sabah (Warisan) despite having signed a political pact with Parti Kerjasama Anak Negeri (PAN).
Speaking to FMT, Bumburing said the pact with PAN was only meant to prevent clashes between the two parties in the coming election (GE14).
Since both parties are Kadazandusun-based, he said, it was understandable that they would only stand in Kadazandusun-majority areas.
“Both PCS and PAN have agreed to work with Pakatan Harapan and Warisan. I met with Warisan president Shafie Apdal on at least three occasions to discuss the possibility of collaboration between our parties in the coming election.
“In the last meeting, we touched on areas where we wanted to stand. However, Shafie shifted from his previous stand and told me that Warisan wants to contest in most of the Kadazandusun areas including Kadamaian, Kiulu, Tambunan and Moyog, leaving only very few seats to PCS,” he said.
Bumburing, who is also Tamparuli assemblyman, said he had told Shafie that PCS would not accept the proposal because the party had always been clear about its direction as a race-based group.
Furthermore, he said, Warisan had already hinted that it wants most of the 31 seats currently held by Umno while PCS has no intention of contesting any seats in the east coast.
He also said it was ironic for Shafie to suggest that Warisan wanted most of the seats because he feared other parties might jump ship.
“I have to remind him that I left Barisan Nasional (BN) of my own accord in 2013 because of the illegal immigrant issue, leaving job and perks as an MP for BN. I did not leave BN because I was sacked from Upko.”
Shafie left Umno in 2016 after he was removed from his ministerial post in the 2015 cabinet reshuffle.
Bumburing said he was supposed to meet Shafie again but was taken aback after the former rural and regional development minister accused him of meeting with Prime Minister Najib Razak.
He added that Shafie, who is also Semporna MP, had always used the term “Warisan government” or referred to “when Warisan wins the election”, giving potential allies the impression that there would be no room for them in the future.
Bumburing also criticised Shafie for saying he could not give “all the seats they want”, which he said implied that Shafie had the sole right to distribute the Sabah seats in GE14.
“The collaboration among the parties must not be limited to seat negotiation only, but also power sharing in the next government and discussions of the common manifesto.
“Though we are in agreement on many things, there are issues which we must address, such as the issue of illegal immigrants and the illegal issuance of identity cards which Warisan has never touched on in its rallies.”
Nonetheless, Bumburing said PCS maintained its stand that no party should take more than 50% of the seats in Sabah, in emulation of the seat sharing in the peninsula.
“If we want to change the government, we must offer a better formula than BN. The seat arrangement for the election will reflect the kind of state government that is formed after the election.”