Let’s not weaken each other, Upko tells coalition members

Upko Youth chief Felix Joseph Saang says parties in Sabah’s ruling coalition should enhance their cooperation.

KOTA KINABALU: An Upko leader has urged parties in the state’s ruling coalition not to weaken each other while seeking to strengthen their respective positions in the fledgling administration.

Its Youth chief Felix Joseph Saang said leaders might at times be overly eager to strengthen their positions and forget the fact that there was a need for them to safeguard the newly-minted coalition comprising Warisan, Pakatan Harapan and Upko.

“Upko Youth urges the parties in the coalition to further enhance their cooperation for the greater good of the state governement.

“The current political scene in Sabah has somewhat caused a bit of confusion among some of the rakyat. Although the unity and cooperation between the parties are currently good, it is vital for the top leaders to contiue finding ways that could further enhance this existing unity.

“Many of us would often try to reach for the stars when we could not even see the problems that lie in front of our very eyes. We must not weaken our friends in the coalition as such action would potentially affect this partnership that we have.

“As a result, this can be used by certain quarters to cripple the state government,” Saang said after the Youth wing’s meeting.

Henry Soimpon, an aide to Warisan vice-president Peter Anthony, had recently disputed the views by political analyst Arnold Puyok, who had suggested that Warisan was vulnerable to a split due to the battle for its deputy presidency.

Soimpon said the suggestion that a leadership tussle might be brewing between vice-president Peter Anthony and present Warisan deputy president Darell Leiking was “outrageously false”.

Puyok’s views also came shortly after former Upko assemblyman Masiung Banah joined Warisan, which Soimpon claimed was due to a fallout with Upko president Wilfred Madius Tangau, who is the deputy chief minister.

Saang said the harmony between member parties must be maintained not only in the central leadership level, but also at the grassroots level.

Apart from preserving the coalition, each party would also have to take into account their own internal issues in their respective parties, he added.

“The basis of the formation of this new government was to fulfil the aspirations of the rakyat, following the results of GE14. The rakyat have started to put high hopes on us.

“It is the responsibility of the new state government to prove to the people that it has the ability to administer the state,” he said.

Previously, Upko Youth had proposed for the establishment of a Presidential Council in the coalition, as this would provide a better platform for the top leaders in the coalition to discuss pertinent issues.

“We are happy to note that the suggestion was well received by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal in Upko’s triennial general meeting in October,” Saang said.

It is understood that Shafie had said that the council would serve as an avenue to listen, monitor and discuss the woes of Sabahans in order to find an effective solution.