Pairin retires from politics but says PBS still relevant

PBS founder and president Joseph Pairin Kitingan says PBS struggle must continue. (Bernama pic)

KOTA KINABALU: Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) founder and president Joseph Pairin Kitingan is retiring from politics.

Saying he will not defend his post in the coming PBS election, the Huguan Siou (Kadazandusun Murut Paramount Leader) said he still believed the 33-year-old party was more relevant today than ever before.

“The struggle must continue. We (PBS) are not done yet. Our party struggle is noble and PBS’s multiracial concept has been proven acceptable to Sabahans.

“We have garnered the majority support from Sabahans since 1985. Our pursuit of multiracial politics is not only noble, but timeless and forever relevant,” said Pairin at the party’s Hari Raya gathering here.

He said preparations were on-going ahead of the PBS congress which would take place later this year.

“I will not defend my position as president. The Supreme Council and I have appointed (deputy president) Maximus Ongkili to carry out the duties of the president.

“(And) I am confident he has the qualities and experience to lead PBS into the next era. I urge all PBS leaders to give him full support as we prepare for the transition of leadership,” said Pairin.

The senior politician defended his Tambunan seat in the recent 14th general election despite calling it quits earlier but lost to younger brother Jeffrey Kitingan from Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (STAR).

Meanwhile, Ongkili, who is also Kota Marudu MP, echoed Pairin’s words about the party’s struggle.

“Let’s continue to champion the multiracial unity of Sabahans. It’s a noble goal and after three decades, PBS has proven its sincerity in this pursuit,” said the party deputy president.

Noting however that PBS must reinvent itself, Ongkili said that with the injection of new blood and trained professionals, they would be able to create a new future.

“The defence of state rights will continue to be the basic menu of the PBS struggle; and secondly protection of Sabah from infiltration of illegal immigrants.

“We will serve as watchful angels; as biting guardian forces over the new state government, whose status is still legally questionable and yet to be decided by the courts,” he said.