Sabah reps crossing over to PPBM keen to remain in GBS, claims Ongkili

PBS president Maximus Ongkili (fourth from left) and other PBS leaders at the fish-harvesting event in Kiulu today.

KOTA KINABALU: Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) hopes former Sabah Umno leaders who joined PPBM on Friday would be allowed to remain with Gabungan Bersatu Sabah (GBS).

Speaking to reporters at a PBS get-together and fish-harvesting event in Kiulu today, PBS president Maximus Ongkili said some of the former Sabah Umno leaders told him they are still interested to be part of GBS.

Yesterday, PPBM welcomed its first batch of Sabah members with the entry of eight former Umno representatives from the state.

They were Sabah Umno chief Hajiji Noor, Azizah Mohd Dun, Masidi Manjun, Ronald Kiandee, Abdul Rahim Bakri, Zakaria Edris, Abdul Ghani Yassin and John Ambrose.

Ongkili said he would understand the politicians’ status better on April 6, when PPBM is launched in Sabah.

PPBM is expected to then announce the political parties they would be working with in the state.

“However, as long as their position is still unclear, we are not in a hurry to pressure them to make a decision.

“For now, GBS is merely a coalition of parties involving PBS, Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (STAR) and Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (PBRS).”

The former minister confirmed that Sabah Umno, now led by Kinabatangan MP Bung Moktar Radin, is not interested to be with GBS.

At the moment, Ongkili said the three parties will not be carrying out activities under the GBS flag as it is yet to be officially registered.

The parties can still carry out activities under their respective political parties on the ground.

“In Parliament, we are independent, together with Sarawak. We’ll sit on the opposition side and we will support what is good and oppose what is wrong. We will continue to play this role.

“Furthermore, we will continue to go to the ground, engaging the people and preparing ourselves for the next election.

“It is not long now, only three harvest festivals away,” he said.