KOTA KINABALU: Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad is confident that either Sabah or Sarawak will be able to produce a prime minister in future.
“I am confident that one day, the prime minister will come from Sabah or Sarawak because we are all Malaysians.
“Anyone can become a leader as long as that person has certain capabilities,” said the PPBM chairman to thunderous applause during the launch of Sabah PPBM in Penampang near here today.
Seven Sabah assemblymen received their official PPBM membership cards at the event, which was attended by tens of thousands of people.
They include six former Umno reps: namely Japlin Akin (Usukan); Ghulam Haidar Khan Bahadar (Kawang); Mohd Arifin Mohd Arif (Membakut); Isnin Aliasnih (Klias); Matbali Musbah (Lumadan); and Nizam Abu Bakar Titingan (Apas). Former Upko vice-president Bobbey Suan (Nabawan) also joined PPBM.
Mahathir said he was encouraged by the turnout today, describing it as the “biggest” he had ever seen in his long political career.
Some people had urged PPBM to enter Sabah even before the general election last year, but he felt it was not the right time then. Well after the general election many delegations also tried to convince the leadership to set up Sabah PPBM.
“There have been many from Umno and Barisan Nasional who wanted to join us. We found most of them wanted to become PPBM members,” he said.
Mahathir: PPBM not out to take over Sabah
“No one can deny the interest from Sabahans wanting to join PPBM … now is the time to set up PPBM in Sabah,” Mahathir said pointing out that the launch came almost a year after the change in federal government.
He said the party should not be considered to be a threat to any other party in Sabah. “We are not here to seize power or establish our own government. We will support the party ruling in Sabah and we will further strengthen the state government.”
He also reminded the new members to stay true to the struggles of the party, adding those who strayed will be discarded. We can’t be leaders for too long. We have to give chances to others to lead.”
The general election last year had shown that “people’s power is more powerful than money”, he said. “But after bringing down the kleptocracy, don’t end up emulating their doings eventually. There is no place for people who are out to only enrich themselves in the party.”
He praised the determination of the thousands who turned up today, saying they were all united in their aim to “fix” the country by joining PPBM.
“I recall being PM in 1991 and it was not too difficult (to bring development). But now, there is too much corruption,” he said.
Past leaders were more interested in filling their own pockets than in looking after the people.
PPBM president Muhyiddin Yassin said that 130,000 people had registered to become members of the party in Sabah.