Warisan’s challenger in Tambunan shrugs off traitor label as ‘unrealistic’

Brothers Pairin (right) and Jeffrey (2nd right) stand together outside the nomination centre in Tambunan. With them is brother-in-law Alip (left).

KOTA KINABALU: Parti Warisan Sabah’s Justin Alip, who is challenging his brother-in-law Joseph Pairin Kitingan for the Tambunan state seat, has shrugged off as “unrealistic” the latter’s accusation that Alip betrayed him and PBS.

Alip, the husband of Pairin’s youngest sister, said times had changed and the wishes and aspirations of the public needed to be heeded.

“To help Sabah enjoy the true meaning of independence, I came forward to help PBS complete its struggle but it was not to be. Only Warisan can do this.

“Actually, Pairin should have been proud because someone came forward to continue his early struggle.”

Pairin, the PBS president who has held the seat since 1976, labelled Alip a traitor for deciding to challenge him as a Warisan candidate.

“I don’t like him (Alip) as he doesn’t consider me as a friend any more … he betrayed me and PBS which always took good care of him,” the Sabah deputy chief minister said on nomination day.

Besides Pairin and Alip, the seat in central Sabah is also being contested by Pairin’s younger brother Jeffrey, the president of Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (Star).

The 77-year-old Pairin is not in the race this time for the Keningau parliamentary constituency, where he is also the incumbent.

Alip said Pairin’s labelling him as a traitor is not realistic.

“Pairin himself had announced that he would not contest in this election and he had also said this during the last election,” said Alip in a statement.

“Pairin also announced at the party’s AGM and in his speeches in various villages that he had transferred his administrative duties to his deputy Maximus Ongkili.”

Alip said that in a sincere fight for justice, he could not consider family and personal matters as he could not let “Sabah remain oppressed by BN and Umno”.

“Whatever Pairin said against me, I forgive him because maybe he has forgotten who he was and his early struggle.

“No matter what, he’s my brother-in-law in this world and the next.”

PBS began as an opposition party and joined the BN after it won the 1986 state election. It quit the national coalition on the eve of the 1990 general election but rejoined it in 2002.

My brother-in-law is a traitor, says Pairin

GE14: Brothers to battle it out in Tambunan