KOTA KINABALU, May 9 — Gabungan Rakyat Sabah has agreed to admit one of the four local parties that applied to join the ruling state coalition.

GRS chairman Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor said the United Sabah National Organisation (Usno) has been accepted while the applications of Parti Kesejahteraan Demokratik Malaysia (KDM), Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and Parti Cinta Sabah (PCS) are still pending decisions.

“The rational is that Usno had applied since January of 2021. They have been waiting for one-and-half years so, at our supreme council meeting today, we decided to accept them.

“We appreciate the application from the other parties but the consensus is that we need more time to interact and get to know each other better first. However, as a token of goodwill, we will involve them in our activities and invite them to our launch to show our appreciation,” he said at a press conference here.

Usno is led by former Dewan Rakyat speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia while KDM is headed by former Warisan vice president Datuk Peter Anthony, who recently quit the party citing a change in direction.

LDP is led bv Datuk Chin Su Phin while PCS is former foreign minister Datuk Anifah Aman’s party.

Of the four, only KDM has elected representatives — Anthony’s state Melalap seat and Limbahau state assemblyman Datuk Juil Nuatim.

GRS was formed after the state election of September 2020 and only formally registered with the Registrar of Societies in March 2022.

Although the GRS state government works with some nine parties, it officially has only four components: Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM), Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS), Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku Sabah (Sabah STAR) and Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP).

The Barisan Nasional and notably Umno, which make up a significant portion of the state Cabinet, are not officially part of GRS.

However, Hajiji maintained that the coalition was intact and enjoyed good relations, even having recently decided to form a special committee specifically to work on its solidarity with BN as part of its preparations for the coming elections.

“This is to unite the two coalitions so we may go into the national elections together hopefully without any overlapping contests for seats,” he said.

The meeting also agreed to form a coordination committee at every parliamentary constituency.

PBS president Datuk Maximus Ongkili, when asked about speculation that it would go its own way for the 15th general election, said that PBS would remain loyal to GRS as long as it did not stray too far from the party’s beliefs.

“All I said was, we are hardened members of GRS. It is typical of us, once we have made an alignment, to stay faithful to it, unless the decisions made are contrary to the party.

“We will be faithful to the chairman, the whole team and the state government and support each other going into the election to make sure we win as many seats as possible,” he said.

Ongkili was recently reported to have said that the party had not yet decided whether it would stay aligned to GRS in GE15, if it could not reach consensus.