Kota Marudu Member of Parliament

‘Expansion to serve Sabahans in peninsula’

PENAMPANG: Parti Bersatu Sabah’s (PBS) main intention of expanding to Peninsular Malaysia is to serve Sabahans there better.

Deputy president Datuk Seri Panglima Dr Maximus Ongkili said that there are about 200,000 Sabahans of all ages residing in Peninsular Malaysia and PBS would like to reach out to them.

Dr Maximus who was met at PBS’ 30th annual delegates conference yesterday, said this when asked by reporters to elaborate on the party’s plan to expand to Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia as it has received the approval by the Registrar of Societies (ROS).

According to the Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister, PBS plans to start its expansion plan early next year by recruiting members and opening up branches in Peninsular Malaysia.

“We have already more or less mapped out their locality with a view to engage with them,” he said, adding that PBS hopes to be able to serve them in terms of their needs, especially in the area of welfare and on the political side, offer them an option to join rather than them joining other political parties.

Dr Maximus disclosed that the party’s constitution was amended by the congress of 1995 for PBS to expand out of Sabah.

“When we submitted (our application) to ROS at that time they accepted (but we were) subjected to certain conditions, including changing the party’s name as they felt the word Sabah meant only for Sabahans.

“But in the last 12 months (after) engaging with the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister including the new Deputy Prime Minister who requested PBS to resubmit (its application), it was considered and of course approved.

“What it all means is that prior to the approval on Nov 3, we could only open branches in Labuan aside from Sabah. Now with this it says ‘to the rest of Malaysia’.

“We are going to start small (and) the plan at the moment which was approved by the supreme council is to start by recruiting members and forming branches as well as divisions but that depends on how many branches will be formed as one division requires 600 people, no limit of branches,” he said.

He also said that there are non Sabahans in Peninsular Malaysia who want to join a multi-racial party.

Dr Maximus said party president Tan Sri Pairin Kitingan, in his policy speech on Saturday, said that PBS wants to champion multi-racial politics.

“Of course other parties in Peninsular Malaysia also call themselves multi-racial, I don’t think there is any other political party that is more multi-racial than PBS at the moment. We have the Muslim Bumiputra, non-Muslim Bumiputera, the Chinese and so forth.”

To a question if by spreading its wings PBS will also be contesting in Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia in the next general election, Dr Maximus’ reply was that it would depend on the response from the people there.

“Depending on the response and perception of the public, in terms of membership and the support for PBS, I suppose there is no harm in the future to offer ourselves. Nothing can stop us from bidding if the response is good.

“We could be another contender to represent BN if the reception of the people is strong. I don’t think there is any ruling for BN not to consider that but let’s cross that bridge when the time comes,” he said, adding that PBS’s first priority now is to open up its branches and give the people in the peninsula the option of a truly multi-racial party.

He also disclosed that PBS has been advised to look into areas ruled by the opposition rather than competing with its counterparts in Barisan Nasional (BN).


Source - The Borneo Post