KOTA KINABALU: Three Sabah parties have agreed to merge with Parti Gagasan Rakyat Sabah, with former federal minister Anifah Aman as president, forming a new force to challenge the ruling Warisan party.
The enlarged party is to be renamed later, with a new name chosen by the four party leaders.
The parties involved in the merger are:
Parti Cinta Sabah, headed by Wilfred Bumburing;
Parti Anak Negeri Sabah led by Henrynus Amin;
Parti Gagasan Rakyat Sabah led by Dr Ahtiong Tituh;
Parti Hak Sabah, which is yet to be registered, led by former Petagas rep James Ligunjang.
Former Upko leaders Ewon Ebin and Marcus Mojigoh and their supporters would also join the new party.
It could not be ascertained whether Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (Sabah Star), led by Jeffrey Kitingan, and Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) would join the new grouping.
SAPP, led by former Sabah chief minister Yong Teck Lee, has previously said it was against dissolution of the party but would support Gagasan.
Leaders of Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS), the former ruling party in Sabah, previously said they would retain their 35-year-old party.
Talks on the merger have been held for months culminating in the signing of an agreement today for three participating parties to be dissolved and merged under Parti Gagasan Rakyat Sabah.
The party leaders agreed on Anifah as party president.
Anifah said Gagasan would welcome Sabah Star as a member, but on their terms.
“I also think Sabah Star leaders are still consulting their people because they have to dissolve the party to be able to merge. You cannot do that without the approval of your supreme council members,” he told reporters today.
Other parties were welcome as long as they were willing to be dissolved, Anifah said. There are 11 other parties in Sabah.
Anifah said the merger was to end the political bickering that takes place in a coalition of parties. He said coalitions had been known to cause discord and disunity, especially during electoral seat negotiations.
Anifah said the merger was likely to be completed by April.
Gagasan’s core struggles will be to seek solutions on the dispute over the Malaysia Agreement 1963 and to solve the illegal immigrant issue.
KOTA KINABALU, Feb 25 — The former MP for Ranau, Datuk Ewon Ebin has announced leaving United Progressive Kinabalu Organisation (UPKO) today.
In a statement, Ewon who is Ranau UPKO division head and former UPKO vice-president said joining quit decision were several members of the division committee as well as Youth and Wanita wings from various levels of the division.
According to him, the decision to leave UPKO was driven by several factors, among them the direction and struggle of UPKO today which has deviated far from the original objectives when the party was formed.
The struggle to protect and defend the interests, welfare as well as rights of its members, Sabah natives and Malaysians originating from Sabah, he said.
He was among the individuals who established UPKO in March 1994 and became Ranau MP for one term after winning in the 13th general election in 2013.
In the 14th general election in 2018, Ewon who had served as the Federal Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation lost to PKR candidate, Jonathan Yassin.
BY NANCY LAI ON FEBRUARY 25, 2020, TUESDAY AT 1:09 PM
KOTA KINABALU: The United Progressive Kinabalu Organisation (UPKO) Ranau division chief Datuk Ewon Ebin has resigned from the party with immediate effect.
The former elected representative, who made the announcement in Ranau today, said that all divisional leaders including the Women, Youth and Komulakan movements including members are following suit en masse.
According to Ewon, about 5,000 of them made the decision as they were unhappy with the party leadership’s failure to address the illegal immigration issues in Sabah.
KOTA KINABALU: Upko founding member Dr Ewon Ebin has led about 5,000 people, including committee members, to quit the party.
Ewon, who is a former state Science, Technology and Innovation minister and the Ranau Member of Parliament, said he made the decision after holding a discussion with Ranau division leaders.
“Our decision to leave Upko is based on several factors, including the failure of the party leadership to tackle illegal immigrant issues.
“Although the state government has decided to scrap the issuance of Sabah Temporary Passes (PSS), there are statements from state Cabinet ministers and leaders that the government will improve it to be more acceptable by the people,” he said in a statement.
It was reported that the government will issue the PSS to better manage foreign nationals residing in the state starting on June 1.
Before the PSS, several documents were issued to immigrants, including the IMM13 to refugees who entered Sabah in the 1970s; Kad Burung Burung, which was distributed by the Sabah People’s United Front (Berjaya) government; and the Special Federal Task Force-issued Census certificate.
Sabahans are said to be irked by the policy, as the three-year renewable document would allow immigrants to live in Sabah, as well as go to school, hold employment and open savings accounts at banks, among others.
Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal had announced the scrapping of the PSS after the ruling government’s candidate, Datuk Karim Bujang, lost the Kimanis by-election.
Besides illegal immigrants, Ewon said that the party had derailed from its original objectives.
“The direction and basis of Upko today have long veered off from the original intention, which was to defend and protect the welfare and rights of its members,” he added.
KOTA KINABALU: Upko supreme council member Ewon Ebin today announced that he is quitting the party along with 5,000 members, including committee members from the Ranau division.
Ebin cited the failure of the Upko leadership and the government to resolve the illegal immigrant woes in Sabah, and the inconsistent stand of the party’s top leaders over the issue.
His resignation comes after another former Upko leader, Marcus Mojigoh, who was the Putatan Upko chief, resigned from the party on Jan 27.
“After discussing with the leaders of the division, branches and members from the Ranau Upko, today, I, along with division commitee members, the youth body, women and Komulakan, as well as members, numbering around 5,000 plus, resigned from Upko and relinquish all our positions with immediate effect,” said Ebin, who was the Science and Technology and Innovation Minister during the Barisan Nasional administration, here, today.
The former Ranau MP is said to have been involved in talks with other opposition leaders from Gabungan Sabah.
Gabungan Sabah, believed to be led by former Kimanis MP Anifah Aman, is a move to unite the Sabah opposition parties under one body, by merging opposition parties that did not have seats to a single party and also forming partnerships with other opposition parties.
The discussions involve SAPP, Sabah Star, Parti Gagasan Rakyat Sabah, Parti Cinta Sabah, Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah and Parti Kerjasama Anak Negeri Sabah.
“The direction and struggles of Upko have gone far off its original goal to protect and defend the welfare and interest of members, the indigenous Sabahans, and other Malaysians from Sabah.
“Although, the Warisan-led state government had decided to call off the issuance of the Temporary Sabah Pass (PSS), there are still talks among leaders from the ruling parties that the PSS would still be implemented. It will be modified so it can be accepted by the people,” he said.
Upko Ranau has over 120 branches, while Ebin was one of the founding members of the party registered on March 21,1994.
Ebin had served as the party’s vice-president, the divisional head for Kundasang which was renamed Ranau, as well as the organising chairman of the Parti Demokratik Sabah (PDS), which was later named Upko on Oct 30, 1999.
KOTA KINABALU: Several top Sabah opposition leaders met in Penampang today in what appears to be a new bid by the opposition to form an alliance, and are believed to have agreed to merge into a new party.
The two-hour meeting, under the banner “Perpaduan Rakyat”, was believed to have been chaired by Anifah Aman, a former federal minister and MP for Kimanis.
Only Parti Bersatu Sabah was absent at today’s discussions.
After the 2018 general election, an attempt was made to form an opposition alliance called Gabungan Sabah but the plans were shelved.
FMT was made to understand that today’s meeting at the Kinsabina Sdn Bhd building in Penampang, was the second involving state opposition leaders and was aimed to explore possibilities to form a cooperation between them.
Those present today were Jeffrey Kitingan, president of Parti Solidariti Tanah AIrku (Sabah Star); Yong Teck Lee, the Sabah Progressive Party president; Wilfred Bumburing, who heads Parti Cinta Sabah; Henrynus Amin, president of Parti Kerjasama Anak Negeri; Francis Goh, adviser to Parti Gagasan Rakyat Sabah, and Pamela Yong, head of Sabah MCA Wanita.
Others present were Bingkor rep Robert Tawik of Sabah Star; former Upko leader Marcus Mojigoh; Upko supreme council member Ewon Ebin; Nabawan rep Ellron Angin; former Putatan MP James Ligunjang and other senior Sabah politicians.
Ligunjang told FMT when met after the meeting that today’s discussions were about achieving a resolution for all their parties to be merged into one party with a name to be decided later.
“The idea here is to merge all the parties together to form one party. Everyone has agreed to the proposal,” said Ligunjang.
However, he would neither confirm nor deny that the discussions among them would lead to all the opposition leaders dissolving their own parties in order to form the new party.
“But it is still too early to determine how the new party can be realised,” he said.
Anifah also did not deny that the various parties must be dissolved first in order to make the plan a reality.
Although PBS was not represented at the meeting, Sabah Star chief Jeffrey Kitingan confirmed that the party had been invited, however its representative was unable to attend because of health reasons.
The Sabah opposition parties have been in disarray after the 2018 general election, which resulted in Barisan Nasional, the former ruling coalition, being almost totally eliminated.
Parties Upko, PBS, PBRS and Liberal Democratic Party have ditched BN one by one, while Sabah MIC was dissolved, leaving only Sabah MCA and Umno in Sabah BN.
PBS, Sabah Star and Umno had made an effort then to form the Gabungan Sabah coalition to replace BN, on the condition that Umno must be dissolved in Sabah.
However there was a mass exodus of Sabah Umno leaders to Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM), and they subsequently set up the Sabah chapter of the party.
Sabah PPBM is aligned to the state’s ruling parties namely Warisan, Sabah DAP, Sabah PKR and Upko.
Anifah was asked about his role in the new alliance, not being a member of any party. He said it was too early to comment as there are also other leaders who would be joining the new party and who were also party-less.
Anifah is in the midst of setting up his own party.