New vigor in Sabah politics

The launch of the autonomous Sabah Star political chapter brings into reality the birth of the Third Force under Jeffrey Kitingan.

(Free Malaysia Today) – Friday will officially signify the birth of the Sabah chapter of the Sarawak Reform Party (Star), the ‘comeback’ of political gadfly Jeffrey Kitingan and more importantly the formalization of the ‘Third Force’ to face Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat in the upcoming 13th general election.

Kitingan, who’s politics has both awed and exasperated his supporters, has been consistently working the ground since December 2009, pushing his Borneo Agenda which calls for the reinstatement of Sabah and Sarawak’s rights in accordance with the terms of their respective 20 and 18-points Malaysia Agreement signed in 1963.

He has been exceptionally focused on his cause and has even called on both BN and Pakatan allies to quit their federal masters and support his call for Borneonisation and self-determination within the context of the 1963 agreement.

According to the organising chairman of the Jan 6 launch, Awang Ahmad, Kitingan will have a ‘free hand’ and the Sabah chapter will be ‘fully autonomous’ allowing Kitingan to bring to the table hope and renewed excitement.

Speaking to FMT last night, Awang Ahmad Sah said: “This will be a historical and groundbreaking milestone in the political landscape of Sabah and Sarawak as well in Malaysia.

“I don’t want to exaggerate over the response. We know it as we have been working for the past seven or eight months.

“The response is overwhelming. Even some PKR members are joining us. You have to go to the ground to see the mood of the people, and the mood will tell you something,” said Awang Ahmad.

‘Fully autonomous’

He said there will be no ‘interference’ from external parties in the operations and decision making process of the Sabah chapter.

“Sabah Star will be fully autonomous. It is free to make its own decisions including the selection of candidates and to issue a letter of authority to its candidates to use its symbol for the coming general election,” said Awang Ahmad.

He said the party will be ‘working closely’ with Sabah Progressive Peoples Party (SAPP) and Usno.

“As far as we are working together, it is already in the plate. We will be working closely with other political parties including SAPP and Usno, ” he said.

Usno is the acronym for United Sabah Native Organisation. It was once the backbone of the state government in the early days of Sabah’s independence but was dissolved to pave the way for the coming of Umno into Sabah.

Usno was recently revived but it is feared that its registration may not be ready in time for the coming general election.

“It is possible that Usno may use our symbol in this coming election, if the party is not registered in time and if they don’t have any other option,” Awang Ahmad said.

The launch of the Sabah Chapter of Star will be done jointly by party president Dr Dripin Sakoi, and Kitingan. It will be held at the Hongkod Koisaan, KDCA, in Penampang.

The event is expected to see some 5,000 spectators filling the hall.