KOTA KINABALU, Sept 27 — Labuk assemblyman Abdul Rahman Kongkawan announced today he is quitting state Opposition Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) for Parti Warisan Sabah, giving the latter 31 assemblymen in total now.
PBS is now left with four state assemblymen.
Warisan president and Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal announced the new recruit today and said he would make a good addition to the party.
“Actually he has expressed interest as early as the Sandakan by election in May, but we had to consider and screen him. But now we are sure he will be able to help us reach the rural community in his constituency,” said Shafie.
Abdul Rahman told the press he informed the PBS leadership of his decision yesterday.
“Honestly my decision did create some sadness but I am sure they will accept my decision open heartedly because I am doing this sincerely, for the good of the people and not personal gain,” he said.
Abdul Rahman said hoped his entry would enable him to better contribute to the people better now that he could concentrate on delivering to the people rather than be caught up with politicking.
“My area is large, it covers the districts of Beluran and Telupid so I think this move is going to benefit my constituents. I hope that my entry to Warisan will be able to reduce the politicking going on and concentrate on my work,” he said.
The PBS vice president is a first-term assemblyman who beat Warisan’s Ramsah Tasim in the 14th general election with a 2,600 vote majority with 6,665 votes to Tasim’s 4,065.
Abdul Rahman was also on the party’s committee to deal with illegal immigrant issues. He is the 10th state assemblyman to join Warisan since last year’s general election.
Warisan is currently the largest party in Sabah by far with 31 seats now, followed by Pari Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia with nine seats, DAP with six, Upko and PBS with four each, Sabah Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku with three, and PKR with two.
The Warisan and Pakatan Harapan state government now have 52 seats in the 64 seat state assembly (four are nominated assemblymen).
When asked if more state assemblymen were expected to defect and join Warisan, Shafie said there was no concerted effort to recruit any but all were welcome to join his party in the interest of uniting Sabahans.
“It is up to them but we don’t just take anyone. There is a screening process and we have to look at experience and capabilities. But after all, it has to be in the interest of Sabah,” he said.