PBS envious of Sarawak’s staunch stand on protecting state rights

PBS president Maximus Ongkili flanked by senior PBS leaders during his party’s Chinese New Year open house in Kota Kinabalu today.

KOTA KINABALU: PBS president Maximus Ongkili today wished that Sabah could be like its Borneon neighbour Sarawak in fighting for state rights.

Speaking on the sidelines of PBS’ Chinese New Year open house here today, Ongkili noted his party was impressed by the Sarawak government’s dogged stand in getting what’s rightfully theirs.

“I think, to be honest with you, PBS is envious of the strong position that the Sarawak government is taking in respect of protecting its state rights.”

The Kota Marudu MP said a formal meeting has been planned between Sabah opposition bloc Gabungan Bersatu Sabah (GBS) with leaders from Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS).

GBS is a loose coalition, comprising elected representatives from PBS, Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (STAR), PBRS and independent elected representatives.

“We hope to meet them soon, in a more comprehensive manner, on how we can join hands,” Ongkili said.

“Once the GBS formation is formalised, we will continue to pursue the matter to enhance cooperation so we have a common platform to protect the rights of Sabah and Sarawak in the federation.

“I think the only way to realise the Malaysia Agreement 1963 is for both Sabah and Sarawak to work together. Unfortunately, the present government is not in that mood.”

He added that GBS and GPS were keeping in touch all the time.

“I’m in touch with Sarawak MPs in Parliament and we are exchanging notes.”

Recently, STAR president Jeffrey Kitingan dismissed claims that GBS was breaking up, saying the application for registration had finally been submitted to the Registrar of Societies (RoS) on Jan 29.

Kitingan, who is the Keningau MP, said they are currently keeping a low profile after being warned by the RoS on usage of the GBS name as it has not been registered yet.

Last June, Kitingan had said GBS had planned to meet GPS, comprising Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB), Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP), Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) and Parti Demokratik Progresif (PDP). This was to discuss a possible formation of a powerful Borneo bloc.

It was supposed to happen after Hari Raya but the meeting did not take place.

Meanwhile, Ongkili said GBS was a crucial pact to take on the alliance of Warisan-Pakatan Harapan-Upko in Sabah in the next general election.

“Common sense will tell you the numbers are important. Therefore, political cooperation is crucial.

“But it’s important to cooperate with like-minded parties. Our doors are open to work with any political party.

“But principles are also important. You can’t be a party that charts its future based on opportunities. It must be based on the needs of the people,” he said.