KOTA KINABALU: Veteran politician and Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) president Joseph Pairin Kitingan has labelled his brother-in-law, Justin Alip, a traitor for deciding to challenge his hold on the Tambunan state seat as a Parti Warisan Sabah candidate.
“I don’t like him (Alip) as he doesn’t consider me as a friend any more … because he betrayed me and Parti Bersatu Sabah which always took good care of him,” the Sabah deputy chief minister said.
Pairin is defending the Tambunan seat for BN in the 14th general election. He has held the seat since 1976.
The 77-year-old is not in the race this time for the Keningau parliamentary constituency, where he is the incumbent.
Pairin’s younger brother Dr Jeffrey Kitingan is contesting against Pairin.
Jeffrey said he was equally puzzled with Alip’s decision to run in Tambunan.
“We grew up in the same village and started our political careers together,” Jeffrey said.
“We are also one family… I did not expect him to stand here,” he said.
He said the competition between Pairin and himself was nothing new.
He said they had contested against each other in two previous elections.
Jeffrey, who is Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (Star) president, said the relationship between them remained sound despite their differences in political ideologies, adding that they respected each other.
Earlier, Pairin and Jeffrey shook hands after arriving at the nomination centre in interior Tambunan about 9am today.
Both did not greet Alip.
When met, Alip told reporters he did not mind if family ties were somewhat affected as long as he could represent the people who he said wanted change.
Alip, who is married to the brothers’ youngest sister, had announced his departure from PBS to join Warisan in March.
In the last election in May 2013, Pairin won Tambunan with a majority of 2,079 votes.
He also defended the Keningau parliamentary seat where he defeated Jeffrey with a majority of 3,918 votes.