KOTA KINABALU: Political frogs, and not the lack of support for Barisan Nasional (BN), are to blame for the change of the Sabah state government following the May 9 polls, said Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) deputy president Maximus Ongkili.
He said the culture of “jumping ships” was long practised by United Pasok Momogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (Upko), the BN party which joined forces with Warisan president Shafie Apdal to form the state government.
“They made BN and PBS supporters opposition. And now, they face all the discrimination and injustice practised by the Warisan-led state government,” said Ongkili, the Kota Marudu MP.
He said BN Sabah had the majority to form the state government with its 29 seats plus two seats from State Reform Party (STAR).
“Let’s be clear. Warisan didn’t win the state election. It just happened that beyond all expectations, Upko decided to ditch the BN coalition, after winning their five seats on the BN symbol, flags and manifesto. This is totally an unprincipled act,” he said.
Ongkili said Upko leaders inculcated the “leap frogging” culture from the very start, when the party was formed in the 1960s.
He said the party left the Sabah Alliance in 1967. After the state elections, then Upko’s assemblyman for Kiulu, Payar Juman, crossed to Usno, enabling the party to form the government then.
The second “betrayal”, said Ongkili, took place in 1994, when its former president Bernard Dompok from then opposition PBS joined the BN alliance to form the government.
Ongkili said what Upko leaders did in the aftermath of the 14th general election was just a repeat of history.
“This is a terrible example for young politicians who want to be part of principled politics and leave a legacy for the generations to come,” he said.
Ongkili said PBS members should stick to the party’s struggle which includes defending Sabah’s rights in the Malaysian federation.
“Lawan tetap lawan,” he said.
“We in PBS have proven our sincerity over the years. Despite all challengers, which made us the opposition twice, we have shown that since the party’s formation over three decades ago, we are fearless, sincere and will not abandon the struggle for the good of our people,” he said.