New Straits Times

New Straits Times, May 26, 2017

PENAMPANG: Sabah-based opposition Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (Star) president Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan claimed he was offered to join Barisan Nasional (BN).

Without revealing the identity of the BN component party, the Bingkor state assemblyman said he declined the offer, as he was not seeking any benefits.

He adds the offer was made to him, following the retirement by Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan as Parti Bersatu Sabah supremo.

“They said my brother is retiring … do I want to replace him.

“I said I don't want anything. I just want to be the voice of Sabah people,” he told reporters here today.

Jeffrey also quashed rumour’s that he was pro-BN, adding that it was meant to destroy his credibility.

He believes that such talks emerged after he was seen shaking hands with BN component party leaders.

“What is wrong with shaking hands with Umno guys like Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak? What is wrong with shaking hands with my brother (Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan) who is in another party?

“This (rumour) was started by those who are afraid, that my struggle will succeed, as some of them have been mimicking what I have been fighting (which is Sabah’s rights) for all these years.

Jeffrey said if he indeed was pro-BN, he would have accepted the offer to join the coalition.

Jefferey’s pro-BN rumour began emerging after information emerged of Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman engaging state opposition leaders including Jeffrey through a MySabah Whatsapp group chat.

Anifah however had addressed this as being a non-political platform to discuss Sabah’s rights and interests.

To this, Jeffrey applauded Anifah’s position on the matter and expressed his respect for him.

“We have agreed to leave outside any connection with (political) parties and just as Sabah individuals.

“That is why we can sit down” he said.

On Parti Cinta Sabah (PCS) which was in the United Sabah Alliance (USA), Jeffrey said the one time STAR ally led by Datuk Seri Wilfred Bumburing, is welcome to return to the alliance’s fold. This is provided that their aim is to engage the BN in a one-on-one basis in the 14th general election.

“They (PCS) made the wrong step and if they want to come back to USA we are open, (but) they must learn from the lesson,” said Jeffrey.

He also advised Peninsular-based opposition parties under Pakatan Harapan pact to let Sabah based
opposition parties to contest majority of the seats in the state.

Instead they should contest ‘residual seats’ where Sabah parties do not have the strength.

“I can say about 95 percent of seats discussed in the USA has been resolved but I believe we will be able to achieve one-on-one fight ( against BN) if we continue to discuss and cut deals,” he added.


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