KOTA KINABALU: An Upko leader has hit back at PBS deputy president Maximus Ongkili for labelling Upko as a party of “frogs”, saying PBS should look in the mirror first if they wanted to talk about principles.
Upko legal bureau chief Nelson W Anggang said it was clear from the results of the 14th general election (GE14) that the people had wanted change and Upko understood those sentiments.
“If indeed PBS is a principled party then they ought to have rejected the two Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (Star) assemblymen who decided to go against the wishes of the majority who had voted for them,” he said.
Anggang was referring to Star’s decision to team up with Barisan Nasional following the May 9 polls, thus, giving the former ruling coalition a majority of 31 seats. BN and Parti Warisan Sabah-Pakatan Harapan were tied at 29 seats prior to the move.
“The decision of Upko is a reflection of putting right what seems to be the betrayal of the voices of the majority and doing what ought to be done. It was very clear that the people have spoken… they wanted change.
“Ongkili can say what he likes but Upko’s decision has made it possible for the people to have the opportunity to start something new,” Anggang said.
Upko, which secured five state seats and one parliamentary seat in GE14, left the BN a day after the polls and joined forces with Warisan and its Sabah PH allies PKR and DAP.
Anggang said when leaders were elected, the people would expect these leaders to make difficult but the right decisions for them even when such decisions might not be appreciated at first.
“Principled leaders understand and respect the voices of the majority. Ongkili should not pretend to be ignorant of the fact that BN did not win the election.
“It is a fact that the majority of voters have rejected BN. It was a hung state assembly. After we had tabulated the votes for both the state and parliamentary seats, it was very clear that the split was 60-40.
“We did not expect Star to betray the wishes of Sabahans. Besides that, Ongkili should remember that Star snatched two seats from PBS during GE14. And now PBS is trying to blame Upko for (PBS) not being in the government?,” he said.
Ongkili had said political frogs, and not the lack of support for BN, was the reason for the change of the Sabah government following GE14, adding the culture of “jumping ships” was long practised by Upko.
The Kota Marudu MP also said Upko leaders instilled the culture since the party was formed in the 1960s and again in 1994 when its former president Bernard Dompok joined BN from then opposition PBS to form the government.
As such, the moves that were made post-GE14 were just history repeating itself, he added.
Anggang refuted this, saying Upko was only formed after the collapse of the PBS government.
“To put the historical facts right about what transpired in 1994, it was the defection of three PBS assemblymen that caused the downfall of the PBS government.
“Upko, which was then the Sabah Democratic Party, was only formed after the fall of the PBS government,” he said.