Jeffrey set to form his own party?

By Luke Rintod. Free Malaysia Today

KOTA KINABALU: Former Sabah PKR big shot Jeffrey Kitingan, who is now without a top post in the party, may be moving to set up his own political party.

“It pains my heart when I think on how PKR had treated me, treated us…” he said quietly during an interview over dinner at a shopping complex here on Thursday (Dec 2).

In a somber mood he reminisced how he had befriended and sought common grounds with Anwar Ibrahim, PKR de facto leader, three years ago on the various issues affecting the nation, especially those that had had direct impact on Sabah and Sarawak.

“He agreed with our views, rights and aspirations, and even promised to make amendments in the party’s constitution. But nothing has been done…,” he said.

He was referring to an agreement to include an outline of the special rights for Sabah and Sarawak that would enable PKR leaders in the states to act autonomously and free of control by Kuala Lumpur.

“Now how am I to go around Sabah and Sarawak to campaign for a party that didn’t even want to put our rights in its constitution? Would the people believe?” he asked.

Jeffrey, the younger brother of Deputy Chief Minister Joseph Pairin Kitingan, who is on a two- month leave till the middle of December, said he was still listening to the people and his NGO, CigMa, is holding a survey on the how people in the state perceive the matter.

He refused to deny the possibility of leading a political party independent of both Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat, but declined to talk about speculation that he would work with former PKR leader Zaid Ibrahim and his new party.

Common interests

However, Jeffrey added that he would talk with any group that shared common interests in resolving Sabah’s many grievances.

A check with the Registrar of Societies showed that of the registered political party left unattached, only Bersekutu and Parti Setia remain with the deregistration of Pasok.

Bersekutu leader, Berman Angkap, has not given any fresh indication of possible links to Jeffrey but it is learnt that about two months ago, Bersekutu’s supreme council advised Berman not to entertain a possible take over of the party by the maverick politician.

The warning came following disclosure that Berman had floated the idea among his colleagues about a possible merger with Jeffrey’s group.

Parti Setia, which was embroiled in a court action with its founder Shuhaidin Langkap, meanwhile has been more secretive and its current president, Henry Sabagong Rumpit, has been reclusive.

Other speculation making the rounds in political circles is that a local Barisan Nasional party may pull out of the coalition and invite Jeffrey to lead it.

Asked about this, Jeffrey reiterated he would listen to the people and his friends before making known his option.