Prominent former Upko Youth chief joins PBS

Arthur Sen (left) handing over his membership application to Joseph Pairin Kitingan (third from right) at the Kundasang PBS annual general meeting today.

KOTA KINABALU: Former Upko Youth chief Arthur Sen today joined Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) after his application was accepted by PBS president Joseph Pairin Kitingan today.

Speaking to FMT, Sen, who left Upko a little over a month ago, said he felt the time was right to join another political party again, especially because it is the most effective way to demand the rights of Sabah and equality between West Malaysia and East Malaysia.

Sen was one of the more outspoken Upko leaders, known for his criticisms against what he perceived as injustice to Sabah and the people under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), even during the time when Upko was part of the BN government.

He left the party on July 23 and relinquished all his posts, including as youth chief, vice-president and as Ranau Upko vice-chairman.

While he did not give the reasons for the decision, it was later revealed that Sen was unhappy with the party’s direction after acting president Wilfred Madius Tangau defected from Barisan Nasional (BN) and threw his support behind the Parti Warisan Sabah-Pakatan Harapan coalition.

“I chose PBS out of love for my country. For me, we were given independence by the British so that we can be a free country and enter into negotiations to form the Federation of Malaysia, together with Sarawak, Singapore and the Federation of Malaya.

“All the documents, including Cobbold Commission report, Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) Report and the MA63, are the foundations of this new federation, and not to demote Sabah and Sarawak to the level of mere states in the Federation of Malaya.

“I realised we still have a lot to do and this is not out of parochial mentality but because I feel Sabah deserves to be given what was agreed upon in 1962,” he said.

Sen further said he believed all these issues are better discussed on a political platform rather than political activism, hence his decision to join politics again.

He admitted that he had thought about joining other parties as well but in the end chose PBS as he felt the party’s history had shown that it was responsible for creating awareness on Sabah’s rights among the people, regardless of race and religion.

“I also like Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (STAR) and Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (PBRS). But I had to choose one of the three.

“Nevertheless, I am still glad because all parties will be joined together eventually under the Gabungan Bersatu Sabah (GBS),” he said.