PKR president slams Sabah lawmakers for jumping ship


(MMO) – PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail has described as unacceptable the actions of Sabah lawmakers who defected despite winning their seats under her party’s banner.

The head of the peninsula-based opposition party expressed regret with Klias assemblyman Datuk Lajim Ukin’s resignation as Sabah PKR chief to set up his own party, as well as that of Moyog assemblyman Terrence Siambun who will join the new party started by former Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal.

Penampang MP Darell Leiking quit as PKR vice-president earlier to join Shafie’s party.

“While I try to understand and empathise with him on the need to reflect a more Sabah emphasis in the campaign against BN, the practice of elected MPs or [assemblymen] abandoning the party on whose ticket he was initially elected cannot be condoned,” Dr Wan Azizah said in a statement, referring to Lajim.

“Keadilan is the first national multiracial party which recognised the rights of Sabah and Sarawak in accordance to the spirit and letters of the Malaysian Agreement; as one of the pillars of the reforms our nation has to adopt. We have mainstreamed the Malaysian Day celebration, Borneonisation and Sabah autonomy long before other parties join in the chorus,” she added.

Eleven Sabah Pakatan Harapan leaders quit PKR and DAP yesterday for local platforms.

Alongside Lajim and Siambun, Datuk Maijol Mahap quit as Sabah PKR state secretary and Johair Matlani as the state chapter’s Wanita chief.

Seven Sabah DAP office bearers also resigned, including Likas assemblyman Junz Wong who quit his secretary position in the state chapter, but said he has yet to decide on his next political move.

Dr Wan Azizah said today that she intends to lead PKR to be the driving force that unites all parties against the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) in Sabah and elsewhere.

“After 18 years and various ups and downs, Keadilan remains the only party that brings every race and every group on a multiracial and progressive platform. We are the only party in Malaysia’s history to have had elected representatives in every state and of every ethnicity.

“Therein lies the strength of Keadilan. In the final analysis, Keadilan remains the most inclusive party of all and that unique strength will not be lost on Sabahans,” said the parliamentary opposition leader.

She also said all of PKR’s 26 divisions in Sabah, including Labuan, will remain strong and functional because it was “individual leaders” who left the party.

“I wish Datuk Seri Panglima Lajim Ukin and others good luck in their next endeavours. I am positive that they will work within a cooperative framework with Pakatan Harapan Sabah to ensure a one-to-one [contest] in all state and parliamentary seats in Sabah in the next general election,” said Dr Wan Azizah.

She added that her chief of staff, Datuk Saifuddin Nasution Ismail, has been assigned to meet party leaders in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, this week to ensure continuity in the party’s preparation for the next general election.