KOTA KINABALU, May 28 — The leaders of Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) parties are in agreement that the coalition is the best platform to champion Sabah rights as contained in the Malaysia Agreement 1962 (MA63).

Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (Star) president Datuk Seri Dr Jeffrey Kitingan said GRS was also the best vehicle to develop Sabah till it becomes the most developed state in Malaysia.

“Today is a historic political moment for Sabah as almost all party leaders in the state can come together to fight for Sabahans.

“The awareness of Sabah leaders have made GRS as a platform to fight for ‘Sabah First, Sayangi Sabah’....leaders learn from past mistakes....based on that awareness, today we are united together with existing political leaders today,” he said during his speech at the Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) launch here today that was officiated by GRS chairman Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor, the Sabah Chief Minister.

GRS is currently comprised of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) Sabah, Star Sabah, Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS), United Sabah National Organisation (USNO), and Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP).

Several other parties, including Social Democratic Harmony Party (KDM), Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and Parti Cinta Sabah (PCS) have also applied to join the coalition.

Meanwhile, PBS president Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili said GRS’s struggle in defending state right and Sabahans, as contained in MA63, was a noble one.

“For us in PBS, the MA63 struggle is synonymous with PBS, which is now 37 years old. With over three decades of experience, PBS would like to urge other GRS partners not to be afraid or ashamed of championing our rights, what more those contained in MA63.

“On our rights, one more thing that needs to be championed by GRS is to return our immigration autonomy to the state government. In Sarawak, immigration issues are among the four things considered non-negotiable,” he stressed.

He said GRS was capable of strengthening the struggle of component parties for the state and its people.

SAPP president Datuk Yong Teck Lee meanwhile said the establishment of GRS is something that many Sabahans were waiting for.

“This is what Sabahans want...they want party leaders in Sabah to unite....together we will fight for our rights in Sabah. Hopefully GRS leaders and members will always be able to accept anyone who wants to contribute their effort and thoughts to GRS,” he said.

Meanwhile, USNO president Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia said the main reason USNO joined GRS was because they believed that Sabahans would rally around the coalition.

“We want to contribute energy and effort to GRS....we want to fight together to develop Sabah....we want to champion Sabah’s rights together and GRS is the best platform for that,” he added. — Bernama