KOTA KINABALU, Feb 16 ― Parti Perpaduan Rakyat Sabah (PPRS) is the newest party in the state seeking to muscle in on a pretty crowded political ring ahead of the 14th general elections due by August next year.
Its president Datu Mohd Arshad Abdul Mualap said his party will co-operate with local Opposition pact, United Sabah Alliance (USA), to “take Sabah back from outsider power”.
“We feel that the current sentiment is that in order for Sabah to gain its rightful power back, we cannot have ‘outsiders’ working with us. So our stand is to work with only local Sabah parties and not national-based parties,” he told a news conference here today.
“PPRS had talks and discussions with USA’s leadership on its joining the alliance, and there has been positive indications from both sides but no decision has been made yet,” he said.
Acknowledging that there were many Opposition parties in Sabah jostling for seats, Arshad said that it was timely due to the current sentiments of the people, but they were optimistic of achieving an agreement to go against the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) government in straight fights.
“This is the time for local parties to step up and shine. We also hope that they give opportunity for the younger generation to contest,” he said.
USA consists of Sabah Progressive Party helmed by Datuk Yong Teck Lee and Parti Solidariti TanahAirku helmed by Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan and Parti Cinta Sabah helmed by Datuk Wilfred Bumburing.
But Arshad said PPRS will not work with Parti Warisan Sabah, a separate Opposition party led by former Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal due to its link to peninsula-based Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) chaired by former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and led by other ex-Umno men.
“We are vehemently against working with any outsider parties or those with links to national parties.
“To work with Warisan is the same as having an outside influence. Might as well work with Umno,” Arshad said.
Arshad, who claims that the party has an estimated membership of 25,000 across the state, said PPRS been active since 2006 but only approved by the Registrar of Societies in April of 2014.
He said that PPRS is a multiracial party representing Gen-Y, the voice of the young native Sabahans.
Arshad, a former teacher turned businessman, had previously contested as an independent candidate in the Sungai Sibuga state seat in the 2013 elections against incumbent Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman.
He garned 201 votes against Musa’s 16,637.
“There is a possibility I might contest against him again in the next elections, although going up against the BN machinery will be a tough challenge.
“But there is also the new seat in the area, Sungai Manila, or a parliamentary seat. It depends on the wishes of the people,” he said.