Sabah PKR sets course for turmoil again

(Free Malaysia Today) – KOTA KINABALU: The worst-kept secret is that all is not well in PKR Sabah. Twelve leaders aligned to Dr Jeffrey Kitingan are to face the music for leading a revolt more than a year ago just as they are preparing to face off with rivals at the divisional elections next month.

All have been summoned to appear before the party’s disciplinary committee on Wednesday for their so-called involvement in a botched effort to register Parti Cinta Sabah (PCS) last year.

The sudden order from de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim to grill the 12 amidst campaigning for divisional posts is bound to throw the party into a fresh round of turmoil, this time perhaps worse than the last.

According to sources, the sudden turn of events had irked Jeffrey and several Kadazandusun leaders in the opposition party.

The 12 are Daniel John Jambun, Awang Ahmad Sah Awang Sahari, Mozes Iking, Guandee Kohoi, Sylvester Balon, Dr Nicholas Guntobon, Harry Manisit, Rubbin Guribah, Paul Kerangkas, Innocent Makajil, Gonsubin Yosundang and Nasir Sami.

All received and had answered show-cause letters from PKR secretary-general Saifudin Nasution last week. At least eight of the 12 are to contest for divisional heads posts in various divisions.

Party sources said the 12 now risk being sacked or suspended. “This disciplinary thing has shocked and angered many including Jeffrey,” said a source who requested anonymity.

Issue considered solved

He said the PCS matter was considered solved last year when the 12 quickly withdrew the PCS application from the Registrar of Societies upon learning that Anwar had agreed to Jeffrey’s demands as condition for him and another leader Christina Liew to retract their resignations as vice president and supreme council member respectively.

Talk at the time was that both Jeffrey and Liew, upset by what they believed was too much meddling by Kuala Lumpur in Sabah matters, had wanted to quit PKR and that the 12 had acted with the knowledge of the two.

One of the 12, Sylvester, the PKR head for Papar, had even threatened to quit PKR if Anwar continued to ignore the views of Sabah leaders by pushing Azmin Ali, a PKR vice president, as Sabah liaison chief, a post he had held for only a few weeks before quitting unceremoniously.

Anwar, whose wife Dr Wan Azizah Ismail is the PKR president, later appointed relatively unknown Ahmad Thamrin Jaini as Azmin’s successor, further infuriating many in Sabah who looked up to the leadership of the maverick Jeffrey.

Anwar quickly sent PKR leaders Tian Chua and Michael Bong to Kota Kinabalu to resolve the impasse and that was the end of it until two weeks ago when this matter resurfaced and Anwar bowed to pressure from Jeffrey’s enemies within the party with the support of some central leaders who favour iron-fist control by KL over Sabah and Sarawak.