PBS may no longer strong, powerful – secretary general


(Borneo Post) – A political party will reach the maturity stage and then decay stage when party vision or mission, rules and regulations, institutions are deemed to be outdated and no longer relevant.

Grassroots sentiments for Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) as a political brand name under the leadership of party president Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan remains strong and well entrenched in the hearts and minds of the majority of members and supporters.

However, PBS members and supporters have been urged to face the stark reality that the party may no longer be as strong and powerful as what it was 20 years ago.


PBS secretary general Datuk Henrynus Amin said so many things have changed in the last 20 years and the outcome of the recent general election seemed to reinforce public perception that party’s downward trend in terms of power and influence has begun.


He said it was very unfortunate that PBS has dwindled to a small fraction of its original support base in terms of the number of state and parliamentary seats.


“We should stop referring to ourselves as the second largest party compared to Umno when in fact PBS only has seven state seats and four parliamentary seats, Keningau, Kota Marudu, Tawau and Batu Sapi,” he said apparently referring to some popular statements by certain PBS leaders to describe the party.


“We should be realistic and instead start rebuilding the party support base to regain lost ground,” he said.


“PBS has the potential to become strong again or to be reborn if there were to be a political will to change and rebuild the party,” said Henrynus when delivering his speech at the closing of the Klias PBS annual general meeting on Saturday.


He said PBS must change and renew itself in tandem with changing times if the party were to regain the respect and support of the people of Sabah.


As a first step, Henrynus proposed PBS should heed the call by the president to groom capable younger leaders with the necessary character and competence to lead the party.


He said the party president has given his blessings for the process of renewal of leadership through the popular will of the grassroots members during party election.


He said it is normal for any political organization to go through the various stages of the political cycle, from creation to maintenance and to decay.


According to him, a political party will reach the maturity stage and then decay stage when party vision or mission, rules and regulations, institutions are deemed to be outdated and no longer relevant.


However, PBS, he said has not reached the critical stage of decay as it is still comparatively young and relevant to the people of Sabah.


He said PBS political struggle is still relevant, especially the party’s call for unity which is its defining agenda to bring together all Malaysians in Sabah regardless of race and religion.


He said unity of every Malaysians in Sabah is needed to fight, preserve and protect Sabah’s constitutional rights within the Malaysian federation.


For example, he said the united voice and resilience of all Malaysians in Sabah convinced the Prime Minister and the federal government to form the Royal Commission of Inquiry on illegal immigration.


Thus, he said PBS transformation agenda involved reorganizing the party machinery and empowering party leadership at all levels.


He said PBS must be more organized not only at the state level but also at divisional and branch levels and its leadership able to exercise their responsibilities.


“The fact that the PBS president has signalled his desire to retire within the next few years has created concern in the minds of party members on the viability of the party without him at its helm,” he said.


He said this was because Tan Sri Pairin is a political leader in his own class and no one in PBS would be able to match him in terms of his charisma and leadership ability.


He said the prospect of managing PBS without Pairin is a daunting task given the fact PBS has more than 100,000 members from 61 divisions and more than 2,000 branches comprising of members from all races and religious groups.


“Tan Sri Pairin has held the party together for almost 30 years so the party must survive and prosper regardless,” he said, and added Pairin as president has set a firm foundation for the party to survive to the next decade.


“What is needed is a revamp of the party at all levels to ensure efficiency, effectiveness and relevance.


“Revamp of PBS must also include revamp of BN Sabah to reflect genuine cooperation and a more equitable power sharing formula at all levels,” he said.


Henrynus reminded the PBS Klias delegates to identify and support political leaders who are sincere, faithful and oriented towards serving the people, not their selfish self-interest.


He firmly believes PBS grassroots leaders, members and supporters would reject political leaders who have been elected to power and position for so long but have forgotten their roots and failed to live up to expectation.


Except for the post of party president, he expected all the PBS divisions to nominate candidates for all posts in the Supreme Council.


He said party election is normal and a healthy exercise as it is clearly provided for under the PBS Constitution.


He disclosed that the PBS Congress will be held on October 21-23 at Hongkod Koisaan (KDCA) where the party election would be held.


The PBS party election was scheduled last year but due to the general election it was postponed to this year.