PENAMPANG, Jan 10 — Former Parti Cinta Sabah (PCS) and United Progressive Kinabalu Organisation (Upko) leaders submitted their applications to join Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (PBRS) on Sunday.

In a simple ceremony here, former PCS deputy president Datuk Seri Panglima Wilfred Bumburing, acting as the representative of the group, handed over 80 membership application forms to PBRS President Tan Sri Joseph Kurup.

Bumburing in his speech said that about 10,000 people are also expected to a join PBRS in the near future.

“This decision was not made at the spur of the moment but was the result of several discussions among us and we thank Tan Sri Joseph for his invitation to us to join PBRS.

“Before making the decision, we discussed among ourselves about the political situation in Malaysia and Sabah and we agreed that PBRS is the best platform to continue the struggle for our people.

“Our decision invited various reactions from former PCS members and supporters and others but we are confident in our decision and ready to defend our actions and in turn defend PBRS,” said Bumburing.

He also refuted allegations that those who left PCS did so because they were worried that they will not be reappointed to a leadership post when the party undergoes a reshuffling in the new future.

“My question is how can the reshuffle be made when the (party) election has just been completed unless a plan has been drawn up to reshuffle the party without basing on the constitution.

“It is clear that these reckless allegations were made because those concerned lacked reason and rationale about the en masse departure of many leaders and members,” he opined.

Bumburing said that after leaving PCS, the former leaders, division heads, members and supporters stuck together and continued to agree on options or directions to continue with the struggle for the people of Sabah.

“Many of our friends have asked why we chose to join PBRS. This decision is based on our belief that PBRS, although not as big as other parties, is a party that is consistent in its struggle.

“For example, when Barisan Nasional (BN) lost in the 14th general election, PBRS did not leave BN. This shows the loyal spirit of a strong comrade. PBRS is also the only multi-racial party based on the KDM race.

“In some of our meetings with Tan Sri Joseph, he consistently expressed the spirit to fight for our people. As such we are confident that in PBRS we will be able to cultivate a sense of belonging,” Bumburing said.

He also said that no party can point a finger at them because they changed parties because in this time of Malaysian political turmoil, there have been many shifts in political alignment at the national level.

According to Bumburing, in 1967 the late Donald Stephen invited Upko members at that time to dissolve the party and unite in the Usno for the sake of bumiputra unity in Sabah.

The late Datuk Peter Mojuntin said that he agreed to the call solely for the sake of the wellbeing of Bumiputeras in Sabah.

Bumburing opined, “if we continue to be divided we will not go anywhere and the future of ‘tulun tokou’ will not be guaranteed. Therefore, we need to learn from history and make decisions based on that history.

“Today we witnessed the submission of membership forms from former PCS Supreme Council members along with friends from UPKO and other parties. After today, we have planned to conduct similar programs in Tuaran, Ranau, Kota Marudu, Beaufort, Keningau and several other districts. According to the information we received, about 10,000 people throughout Sabah will join PBRS,” he stressed.

Bumburing also stressed that they are joining PBRS unconditionally as their intention is to contribute towards empowering and developing the party so that it becomes stronger and maybe bigger than the local parties in Sabah.

“Of course there is a lot of work to be done in order to achieve the goal and we are confident that the new members can be given an appropriate role at all levels so that they can contribute positively and effectively towards efforts to strengthen PBRS and Sabah politics.

Speaking to reporters later, Bumburing said that the 10,000 people expected to also sign up as PBRS members are from several other parties.

“When our move was made known through the media, a lot of people from other parties are also encouraged to follow suit and the figure of 10,000 people came from the information garnered by our supporters,” he said.

Bumburing added that PBRS, a multi-racial party, was the best platform to champion the rights of the people and their entry into the party will ensure that PBRS will have a stronger voice in the future. — Borneo Post