PETALING JAYA: Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) delegates are to discuss the possibility of merging with Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (STAR) over the weekend.
PBS vice-president Joachim Gunsalam said the leadership will leave the matter to the delegates at the 38th party congress to decide on whether to merge or form a pact with STAR, led by Jeffrey Kitingan.
“I leave it to you (delegates) in the Youth and Wanita wings to discuss the best mechanism to look at the merger or to choose a working relationship,” he said, according to The Star.
On July 1, Kitingan revived the idea of a merger with PBS, saying it was one way of strengthening the two Kadazandusun Murut-based parties.
He reportedly said that the party had been pondering a merger since the previous state elections in 2020.
However, the idea was halted in 2021 after PBS said it was open to collaborating with opposition party Warisan.
STAR has six representatives in the state assembly, while PBS has seven. The two parties are coalition partners in Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS), which forms the government.
“What is very clear is that we in PBS have given our unwavering assurance about cooperation within GRS, in which PBS and STAR are important components,” Gunsalam said.
He said the political climate in Sabah has changed as no single party can hope to rule the state without forming a pact.
Gunsalam also said the top leadership of PBS is committed to working with GRS in the next state elections.
“It is very important that we convey this approach to the grassroots so that there is no confusion among PBS and GRS supporters,” he said.