KOTA KINABALU: PBS has ridiculed the proposal by its former Barisan Nasional ally Upko to set up a presidential council for the coalition of parties governing Sabah.
Its vice-president, Johnny Mositun, described the call by Upko Youth chief Felix Joseph Saang as “pure grandstanding”.
“It is truly laughable. Where is the need for such a council when the four parties concerned have already formed the government with each of its presidents in the state Cabinet and having full access to the chief minister?
“Or is there something lacking in the Warisan-Pakatan Harapan-Upko coalition government?” he asked, adding any such consultative group would have to involve Warisan, Upko, PKR and DAP.
Saang had said Upko Youth had proposed the establishment of the council to provide a better platform for the top leaders in the coalition to discuss pertinent issues.
Saang said the suggestion was well received by Chief Minister Shafie Apdal, the Warisan president, during Upko’s triennial general meeting in October.
He said the council was needed in light of the current political situation, with the people being “confused” over recent developments, adding that solidarity between the coalition partners, while good, needed to be strengthened.
To this, Mositun said Saang had probably realised Upko was no longer as indispensable as it thought it was after the exodus from Sabah Umno, with almost all its assemblymen and MPs pledging support for the government.
He also contended Saang had inadvertently disclosed, through the presidential council proposal, that problems were brewing within the fledgling coalition.
“He will deny it, of course. But it is obvious the second echelon, at least the youth chief and grassroots in Upko, are starting to have doubts about their ‘security of tenure’ in the government.
“Surely Warisan, DAP and PKR are also not blind to the fact that Upko could just as easily betray them, like it did BN.
“Can we blame them for seeing the former Umno representatives as ‘insurance’ against such a possibility?”
Mositun said he could not see how this proposed council could make any difference to inter-party cooperation in the ruling coalition.
Following the mass exodus of senior leaders from Sabah Umno, there has been talk that besides joining PPBM, the former Umno leaders, who had declared themselves as independents for now, had the option to join Warisan, the dominant party in the state.