Third Force to be kingmakers in GE

Maverick Jeffrey Kitingan, true to form, has received his big brother deputy Chief Minister Pairin’s blessing for the formation of the Third Force.

If the scenario materializes as envisaged, Kitingan would be Prime Minister and Nurul Izzah Anwar one of five deputy prime ministers. If BN is the preferred partner for the Third Force in Parliament, it would be a whole new ball game.

Joe Fernandez, Free Malaysia Today

Jeffrey Kitingan, true to form, has once again decided against forming his own political vehicle to rival one led by Joseph Pairin Kitingan, his elder brother in politics. Instead, he has elected to be chairman of the Sabah chapter of the Sarawak Reform Party (Star).

The party also has a Sarawak chapter and both chapters will make common cause under a National Committee which will be the umbrella grouping for the party. Kitingan’s role in the National Committee is still work in progress, according to the official line, but has already been decided.

Kitingan being with Star could not have happened without Pairin giving him the blessing, nay even encouraging him as in the past with his entry into other parties.

Between 1994, when he first “joined” PBS 10 years after its founding, and Friday Jan 6, 2012 when he joins Star Sabah, he went through as many parties as possible and all in consultation with Pairin.

Such sojourns even earned him the unenviable crown as King of the Frogs. He concedes here on this score and readily too but not without claiming that he has always been a good frog, never a bull frog.

Kitingan, who co-founded the Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) in 1984 with Pairin, the Huguan Siou (Paramount Chief), has always shied away from forming his own political vehicle.

For one, there’s the “blood is thicker than water” mindset of the Kitingans in and out of politics.

For another, Kitingan does not want to be seen among the still tribal mindset Dusun – including the Kadazan or urban Dusun and the Murut – as being at loggerheads with his brother.

Finally, there’s the distinct possibility, albeit receding, that he may no longer be needed to be the perennial sacrificial lamb and instead be called upon to play the role of the prodigal son and return home to bring PBS into the Borneo Alliance.

Star, the nucleus of Borneo Alliance

Star, in effect, is the political wing of the United Borneo Front (UBF), soon to be renamed United Sabah Sarawak Brotherhood Front (also UBF), Kitingan’s NGO which works across the political divide to flog the Borneo Agenda.

Star, in effect, is also the nucleus of the Borneo Alliance which will group together various local political parties in Sabah and Sarawak in furtherance of the Borneo Agenda.

Peninsular Malaysia-based political parties represented in the Sabah and Sarawak state assemblies, or representing the two states in Parliament, are not welcome in the Borneo Alliance unless they allow autonomous local chapters.

The Borneo Alliance, in effect, is the nucleus of the Third Force in the Malaysian Parliament to rival the Barisan Nasional (BN) and the Pakatan Rakyat (PR), both Peninsular Malaysia-based national coalitions.

In that sense, the Third Force will also be a national coalition, albeit Malaysian Borneo-based, reaching across the South China Sea to various allies viz. the Orang Asli, Christians, the Indian underclass as represented by Hindraf Makkal Sakthi, and those in Peninsular Malaysia who support neither BN nor Pakatan.

If there was method in madness in Kitingan’s previous sojourns with various other political parties, there’s tenacity of purpose in him signing up this time with Star.

The Third Force, sensing a historical window of opportunity since the 2008 general election, has pledged to take up the role of kingmaker in the Malaysian Parliament.

If all goes according to script, neither BN nor Pakatan will be able to put together a federal government with even a simple majority without the support of the Third Force.

In that sense, the Third Force will not be part of the federal government but only support it from outside.

The Third Force is against the idea of a government of national unity i.e. one that groups together BN, Pakatan and itself.