Upko slams PBS veep for ridiculing idea of having presidential council

Upko Youth deputy chief Kennedy John Angian says Cabinet meetings are only to discuss state administrative matters, not politics. (Facebook pic)

KOTA KINABALU: Upko today hit back at PBS vice-president Johnny Mositun for dismissing its proposal for a presidential council for the coalition of parties governing Sabah.

Upko Youth deputy chief Kennedy John Angian said Mositun should go back to school and learn the difference between the state Cabinet and a presidential council.

“Yes, all the parties in the coalition are represented but the Cabinet is solely for the purpose of administering the state government.

“Mositun should know that it is inappropriate for the state Cabinet to discuss politics during its meetings. They should only be discussing state administrative matters there,” he said today.

He said Mositun should know the difference as he was the former PBS secretary-general representing the party at Barisan Nasional Supreme Council meetings previously.

“Based on his logic in demonising Upko Youth’s suggestion, how come Mositun never made the call for the BN Supreme Council to be disbanded since he says such an entity is not relevant as all the party leaders are already in the Cabinet, with direct access to the prime minister,” Angian asked.

“If it is not relevant, why did he become a part of the BN Supreme Council — a body that is similar in nature to the presidential council that Upko Youth has suggested?”

Angian was responding to Mositun’s remarks on Christmas Day, ridiculing the call by Upko Youth chief Felix Joseph Saang for the presidential council.

The PBS leader had described the proposal as “laughable” and “pure grandstanding”, saying that each party leader was already represented in the state Cabinet, with direct access to the chief minister.

Saang had said Upko Youth had proposed the establishment of the presidential council to provide a better platform for the top leaders in the coalition to discuss pertinent issues.

Angian said it was clear that a presidential council was imperative in order to further strengthen cooperation among partners.

“It is the best platform to address political issues among the coalition parties, which ought to be separated from state administrative matters.

“We hope Mositun is clear on this,” he said.

Angian also took a dig at Mositun who had suggested that Saang had accidentally disclosed there was trouble brewing in the Warisan-Pakatan Harapan-Upko coalition by making the proposal for the presidential council.

“Mositun had ridiculed the present coalition government but he forgot that the coalition they’re in — Gabungan Bersatu Sabah (GBS) — has sunk even before it could set sail.

“This becomes more ironic if one considers the fact that one of the joint chairmen of GBS is also the leader of PBS.

“It’s better for Mositun to devote his attention towards solving GBS’ internal issues.”

He added Mositun should do his own research first before harping on Upko’s decision to form an alliance with Warisan and PH.

“PBS joined BN in 1986, then left in 1990. It rejoined the coalition in 2002, before once again ditching it in 2018.

“Now, we really don’t know just how long PBS will be able to stay in GBS,” Angian said.

There are four co-chairmen leading GBS, namely PBS president Maximus Ongkili, former Sabah Umno chief Hajiji Mohd Noor, STAR president Jeffrey Kitingan and PBRS president Joseph Kurup.

Former Sabah Umno senior leaders, who quit the party en masse recently, still consider themselves aligned to GBS. They have declared themselves as independents and have thrown their support behind the ruling government.