PBS still trying to justify return to BN

Observers note that PBS leaders are becoming worried that supporters don’t think much of them.

(Free Malaysia Today) – Former Sabah political powerhouse, Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS), is still struggling to explain its re-entry into BN coalition government that had robbed them of power almost two decades ago.

On Saturday, the party latched on Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s recent decision to repeal the draconian Internal Security Act (ISA) as justification for their re-entry into the BN fold in 2002 despite misgivings by supporters.

“Today Pairin’s faith in the BN to do the right things for the people and nation has been proven correct,” PBS information chief, Johnny Mositun said after opening its Kuamut division annual general meeting here.

“These important reforms vindicate the decision by our president, Joseph Pairin Kitingan, to rejoin the BN 10 years ago. He stood by his convictions despite all the criticism and uncharitable remarks
directed at him by his detractors then.

Mositun was commenting on Najib’s announcement on Malaysia Day that the harsh colonial era law would be repealed while the powers of detention now vested in the police would be reviewed and transferred to the judiciary.

“These and other recent changes made by our Prime Minister since assuming office two years ago prove that the BN is listening to the people. The people should no longer question the Prime Minister’s commitment and political will to transform this country for the better.”

Mositun, however, also touched on outstanding matters to be resolved such as illegal immigrants, Borneonisation of the civil service in Sabah, the status of Sino-Natives and NCR land, issues which have riled up Sabahans for decades but have been ignored.

LDP under fire

The state BN coalition is aware that they are treading a tightrope on these grievances and recently moved to resolve a longstanding dispute over NCR land in Kota Marudu to the satisfaction of all parties.

Appearing to take credit for solving the impasse, Mositun said: “I am also happy that a similar dispute that I raised at PPRT Tongod Scheme affecting 700 villagers in 2006 has been settled amicably.

“Not only are the villagers allowed to remain on their land, they are receiving RM450 per month each from SLDB which has also developed the land for them with oil palm,” he said.

Mositun said PBS had been quietly and consistently pursuing such problems within the BN along with its partners in the state BN.

He praised Chief Minister Musa Aman for being helpful in seeking solutions to these problems and said the party was confident most of Sabah’s outstanding problems could be resolved through cooperation and dialogue and not confrontation.

Mositun also took time out to criticise LDP deputy president Chin Su Phin for suggesting that the terms of office for chief ministers and menteris besar be limited to two terms, an idea mooted by Jeffrey Kitingan, the the younger brother of the PBS president, who is now chairman of two Sabah NGOs – Borneo Heritage Foundation and United Borneo Front.

He said LDP had exceeded the bounds of decorum expected of a BN component party by making such a suggestion.

“Chin Su Phin has an axe to grind against Musa Aman. He finds this a convenient excuse to cover his real purpose which is to see our chief minister replaced.

“I find this very abhorrent and unethical. He deserves to be dealt with appropriately, either by his own party or the state BN.”