KOTA KINABALU, Feb 18 — Opposition leader Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan said Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal’s resistance towards Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia’s (PPBM) entry into Sabah was a sign of a shaky relationship between the state and federal government.
The Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku president said the chief minister’s Parti Warisan Sabah and its alliance with the Pakatan Harapan (PH) federal government is not genuine.
“If Warisan claims that the party and PPBM are like siblings, it should not feel threatened by the latter’s entry into Sabah. If Shafie can welcome other parties, he should accept PPBM into the fold,” he said in a statement here today.
Jeffrey, who is Tambunan assemblyman and Keningau MP, pointed out that there were already three parties from PH — DAP, PKR and Amanah — in Sabah and Sarawak, where PPBM had also branched out to last year.
He said that Warisan had worked together with PKR and DAP, giving no reason not to welcome PPBM except for the fear that the party might be “clipping Shafie's wings”.
He also said that Shafie had needed PPBM’s support after the May 9 polls (GE14) to convince crossovers that would ultimately lead to Warisan gaining the majority support of the newly-elected state assemblymen.
“If not for the party, the frogs would not jump from the legitimate government to the then Opposition,” he said.
Kitingan also took Shafie to task for saying that Sabahans have given Warisan the mandate to form the government after the May 9 polls last year, when in fact Shafie only managed to wrest victory on May 12, after several crossover, and with Bersatu's support.
“It is brazen of its president Shafie Apdal to nonchalantly make such a claim. Please do not mislead the people and accept the fact that his is a government built on ‘frogging’ using statutory declarations, which is not in the State Constitution.
“Even after an alliance with DAP and PKR, both multiracial parties from Peninsula, Warisan still needed to horse trade to form what many believe is an illegal government.
”If Warisan was a strong local multiracial party, it should stand on its own and not forge an alliance with Upko and two parties from Peninsula,” he said, warning that those who had “jumped” into Warisan may just jump again with the latest political development.
Earlier today, Shafie responded to PPBM's entry into Sabah by saying that they could not stop the party, but that they stood by their stand that the parties had come to a brotherly agreement that PPBM would not spread its wings to the state.
Shafie also said he would continue to work with its PH allies as they had done, and called on supporters not to get emotional.
Several of Shafie's allies including PKR and DAP had criticised the move by PPBM to break their promise and set up shop in Sabah, to absorb 5 MPs and eight assemblyman who have been left as independents since leaving Umno.
Shafie called for calm and said it would continue to reinstate the state's rights as Sabahans had given them the mandate to govern the state.