‘New beginning’ as 500 Muslim Bumiputeras join Kitingan’s party

STAR president Jeffrey Kitingan (third from left) accepts the membership forms of former Warisan Kota Belud pro tem chief Awang Salleh Makmud and his group.

KOTA KINABALU: The opposition Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (STAR) has shed its Kadazan, Dusun and Murut (KDM) image by welcoming 500 new Muslim Bumiputera members from the Bajau heartland in Kota Belud.

Party president Jeffrey Kitingan said the entry of the group led by a former Warisan branch leader marked a new beginning for the party.

Kitingan said STAR was expecting more new members from the east coast districts and Kudat, where the majority of the people were from Muslim Bumiputera ethnic groups.

“We are pleased that more are joining us, especially from the east coast areas like Semporna, as well as from Kudat, Kota Belud and Penampang,” he said after receiving membership applications from the 500 Muslim Bumiputera members, led by Awang Salleh Makmud, at the party headquarters in Penampang today.

Formed in 2016, STAR holds the state seats of Bingkor and Tambunan and the Keningau federal seat, where most of the voters comprise non-Muslim Bumiputera ethnic groups, or better known as the KDM communities.

The party has been vocal about the return of state rights and finding a solution to the illegal immigrant problem in Sabah, which Kitingan has accused the Warisan-led state government of failing to resolve.

FMT has learnt that former Warisan members with connections in Sabah Umno have been visiting the east coast districts to persuade party members to leave and join Umno or STAR.

Sources said hundreds of party members in Kinabatangan, Sukau, Beluran, Tawau, Lahad Datu and Semporna on the east coast were expected to resign from Warisan in the coming weeks.

About 600 members from Sepanggar have also left Warisan but said they would continue their struggle to help the people through an NGO.

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