KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Umno has no problem with Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (PBRS) remaining in Barisan Nasional (BN) despite earlier announcing that it was leaving the coalition.
Its youth chief, Abdul Aziz Julkarnain, said Umno would accept anyone who could work together with the party to make BN a formidable opposition bloc.
Speaking to FMT, he said he didn’t see PBRS as being an opportunist, a label given by social media users following the report on Sunday.
“We are open to any party that has the same struggles as Umno. We have to understand that the political dynamics are the country is different now.
“We never thought Lim Kit Siang could sit together with (Prime Minister) Dr Mahathir Mohamad, and likewise Mahathir with Anwar Ibrahim.”
PBRS president Joseph Kurup had said the party never officially left BN and would continue to be a component party for now, adding that only PBS, Upko and LDP had submitted their decisions in writing to leave the former ruling coalition following the May 9 polls.
The former federal minister announced on May 12 that PBRS had decided to pull out from BN.
He said the party had applied to join Pakatan Harapan (PH), to ensure that it could fulfil the promises made to the people.
“We actually wrote to the very top in PH and they have acknowledged receiving our letter but there has been no response,” Kurup said.
“Even Sabah PH chairman Christina Liew previously said there was a ‘very slim chance’ of PBRS being accepted into PH. So it is better that we stay with BN first and see what happens.”
Aziz claimed Kurup’s decision to stay with BN had something to do with the new government’s shortcomings.
“Maybe at that time he had his reasons to support PH but after seeing what they have done now, especially all the unfulfilled manifesto promises, he has probably had a change of mind.
“We know that Tan Sri (Kurup) has always been fighting for Sabah rights and also on matters pertaining to the Malaysia Agreement 1963, what was previously taken away by the federal government.”
Aziz said Sabah Umno is part of the new state opposition bloc, Gabungan Bersatu Sabah (GBS).
“We do hope PBRS can join GBS eventually to strengthen the pact since the coalition’s struggles will be more local-based,” he said.
Also, Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (STAR) and PBS are already part of GBS.