KOTA KINABALU, Sept 15 — Little-known independent party Parti Gagasan Rakyat Sabah (PGRS) knows it is battling many political heavyweights in a crowded field in the statewide election.
However, its adviser Datuk Francis Goh believes the local Sabah party with its crew of professionals will win the favour of some voters on polling day this September 26.
“We are the most original and genuine local Sabah party without any support or known associate to a Malay party.
“We are not controlled by ‘black hands’, you know what I mean,” he said at the launch of his party’s election manifesto in Penampang today.
He did not elaborate. However, he could be alluding to Parti Cinta Sabah, led by Datuk Anifah Aman, a former federal minister who used to be with Umno.
Goh also pointed out that another local party — the Liberal Democratic Party led by former chief minister Tan Sri Chong Kah Kiat, was also a supporter of the Warisan government.
“Its president Datuk Chin Su Phin was asking for support for Warisan in the Kimanis by election. We do not have links like this,” he said.
Contesting in 29 seats, PGRS candidates are mostly first-time contestants with the exception of Goh who was an MCA candidate in GE14 for the Kapayan seat. He was also formerly Sabah MCA deputy chairman.
PGRS deputy president is Datuk Hieu King Cheu, a veteran assemblyman formerly with the DAP who later joined MCA, is also among its candidates and running for the Luyang seat again.
PGRS was formed in 2013 but remained pretty much low key. It initially planned to unite with three other local parties earlier this year but withdrew from the merger.
“We are offering the people an alternative and hope they will give us the mandate. We are local people who sincerely want to help, and we believe we have real solutions and can serve the people.
“Our party is different because our focus is not to form the government or grab power — our candidates are genuine and are running on the basis to serve the people,” Goh said.
He confirmed that the party would be facing the state polls on their own without any alliances or pacts with other parties but realistically hope to form government with another local party.
“Our first priority is to combine with a local party but if that is not an option then a Malaysian party that is aligned to the federal government,” he said.
The 16th Sabah state election will go to polls on September 26 where some 16 parties are vying for votes in 73 seats.