KOTA KINABALU: Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) today said it was not involved in the formation of the proposed new alliance of opposition parties in the state, dubbed Perpaduan Rakyat.
PBS president Maximus Ongkili said the party was the oldest of the parties in Sabah and would not jeopardise itself to make way for a new alliance.
Plans for the new alliance were forged at a recent meeting of opposition leaders in Penampang, chaired by former Kimanis MP Anifah Aman. The group resolved to merge their parties to form a bigger party, comprising all the opposition leaders.
The discussions, held on Feb 10, also included PBS, but FMT was told the party’s representative was not able to attend due to “health reasons”.
Ongkili said PBS would continue to strengthen itself and prepare for the next general election.
“PBS was actually invited to the Perpaduan Rakyat’s event, led by Anifah Aman, recently.
“However, the party opted to focus on our main priority, namely strengthening our grassroots, setting up new branches, recruiting new members at the divisional level, and conducting our annual meetings, which are currently taking place,” he said.
Ongkili said statements made by leaders of Perpaduan Rakyat indicated they were interested in forming a single party. “This may eventually require the dissolution of existing partner parties. PBS is not interested in such an arrangement.”
Speaking at a party event in Matunggong, 135km from here, Ongkili reiterated that PBS is open to working together with like-minded parties that share its struggles, especially on issues related to the Malaysia Agreement 1963.
“The cleansing of Sabah from the domination and intrusion of illegal immigrants and the quest for equitable development have always been part of our struggle.
“While we are open to cooperation, the party leadership has decided to strengthen our machinery and focus on Sabah and Sabahans.
“We are more than happy to work closely with other opposition parties, especially with an eye on the 15th general election.”
Ongkili said PBS had been in existence for over three decades and had already set up divisions in all 60 state seats, including Labuan.
He noted the party is now focusing on setting up offices in the 13 newly-created state seats. It has already established these in Limbahau and Tulid.