Be careful of ‘last samurai’ Salleh, Sabah PKR deputy chief warns

Salleh Said Keruak with Anwar Ibrahim at a recent gathering in Sabah. (Facebook pic)

KOTA KINABALU: A Sabah PKR leader has warned against accepting Salleh Said Keruak into the party, saying the ex-communications minister played the role of “the last samurai” for former prime minister Najib Razak.

Mustapha Sakmud, the state PKR deputy chairman who also heads the party’s Kota Belud division where Salleh lost in the last general election, said he was not opposed to Salleh’s “backdoor membership” but rather the consequences of accepting those who were once staunch supporters of Najib.

“The reformasi struggle that we championed was trivialised and money was thrown to remain in power. I’m prepared to forgive but it is very difficult to ignore the past of leaders who denied the potential of other leaders, especially the younger generation.

“I’m big-hearted but I will not compromise on the principles of the struggle,” he said in a statement.

Salleh, a former Sabah chief minister, recently applied to join PKR. The party says his membership approval is pending.

Salleh contested the Kota Belud parliamentary seat in the 2018 general election but was defeated by his cousin, Warisan candidate Isnaraissah Munirah Majilis.

Salleh had said that PKR as a multiracial party was in line with his political beliefs, and that he would like to help the party champion progressive politics in Sabah.

Mustapha said he hoped party president Anwar Ibrahim would evaluate Salleh’s application carefully.

“Do not ignore the people’s hope of seeing political reforms. There are many unsung heroes who should be given more consideration rather than adding to the party’s liabilities,” he said.