Reunification of KDM parties possible, says Ongkili

PBS deputy president Maximus Ongkili says there is a possibility of seat swapping between the 3 Kadazandusun Murut parties in GE14.

KOTA KINABALU: Three Kadazandusun Murut-majority parties in BN believe the newly-established presidential council that they have formed could one day lead to their reunification under one symbol.

Speaking at a press conference after chairing the inaugural presidential council of Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS), Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (PBRS) and United Pasok Momogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (Upko) here today, PBS deputy president Maximus Ongkili said reunification is the council’s long-term goal.

“Let us start through trusting one another and helping each other to win seats so that one day we can say, well, this is it. But, let’s take one step at a time, then one big leap at a time,” he said.

Ongkili, who chaired the meeting, said KDM leaders are always praying for reunification and working towards it.

“After all, each of the parties’ taglines is ‘Bersatu’ (United). To be united and pursue one goal is good for the people of Sabah, for BN and for the country,” he said.

PBRS and Upko are splinter parties of PBS in the aftermath of the 1994 state election where PBS narrowly won but eventually failed to form the state government due to a series of defections from the party to BN, including Joseph Kurup, who formed PBRS.

Upko was originally Parti Demokrat Sabah (PDS), formed by Bernard Dompok, who also left PBS to join BN in 1994.

Meanwhile, Ongkili said all three parties will maintain their status quo when it comes to seat distribution but he did not rule out the possibility of swapping seats.

In recent weeks, rumours have been circulating that PBS and Upko will be swapping the Kadamaian and Bingkor seats, both of which were won by the opposition in the 2013 general election.

“The subject matter is being discussed and will be announced to the public after this weekend. We need to touch base with those on the ground.

“This is a political strategy and I think any decision should be completed by next week,” he said.

Commenting on the meeting today, Ongkili said the three parties agreed to work closely with one another and will keep each other posted on the going-ons on the ground in each of the seats they are contesting.

PBS will contest 13 state seats and five parliamentary seats, Upko six state seats and four federal seats while PBRS will retain its one state seat and one parliamentary seat.

“In total, we have 20 state seats and 10 parliamentary seats. We have formed common election machineries for all parties and we will monitor the progress.

“We have also resolved that beyond this general election, the parties will continue to work together. We believe such cooperation will only strengthen us,” he said.

Ongkili, who is also Kota Marudu MP, dismissed the notion that KDM seats are marginal seats, pointing out that this idea was due to sabotage and disunity.

He said this would be minimised with the formation of the presidential council.

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Presidential council of Kadazandusun Murut parties to meet April 17