KOTA KINABALU, May 12 — Strengthening Parti Warisan (Warisan) should be the main focus before the implementation of any cooperation or alliances with other parties, including during the 15th General Election, says its president Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal.

He said this was important to ensure that Warisan was not seen as a “crony” of any party, or merely to help strengthen other parties in the cooperation, and instead, a party that was rooted in its fight for the interests of Sabah and the country as a whole.

“We want to build our house (party) first, the walls, pillars and roof are all there, (but) sometimes even our pillars are stolen, this is the reality. So as party leaders, we have to make sure our party is strong enough, I can’t talk about cooperation with many parties without first having a strong party.

“I’m not saying anything negative (about cooperation), I always keep the door open, but I want to build my party first. If we don’t build and strengthen the party, we may face pressure during cooperation later, this is from my experience in previous cooperations,” he said during a press conference at the Warisan headquarters in Kolombong here today.

Earlier, he launched the Warisan Cares, a work-study and scholarship sponsorship programme in collaboration with Kuala Lumpur City College, which among others, offers a Diploma in Retail Management and an English Language Skills Programme.

Mohd Shafie said cooperation between political parties should be done especially when one party becomes the government in a state and the other forms the government at the federal level, but it must be based on smart cooperation.

“For example, if we form the (state) government in Sabah we must cooperate with the Peninsula (Federation) because we are in one country, but we must be smart to ‘detail out’ the form of cooperation and on who we want it with, we do not want to move on our own, but we have to make careful observations first,” he said.

Commenting on the Warisan Care programme, Mohd Shafie said it was hoped to be able to develop human capital among the younger generation in Sabah, which was very important in shaping the future of the Land Below the Wind. — Bernama