Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Jeffrey to revive dormant political party
KOTA KINABALU: Party-less Union Borneo Front (UBF) leader, Jeffrey Kitingan, is set to take over and lead the long-dormant United Democratic Sabah People’s Power Party or better known as Setia.
Reliable sources said that Jeffrey had been in discussion with Setia president, Henry Sabagong Rumpit, for weeks ever since he left PKR on Jan 1, 2011.
“Jeffrey last week announced in Entilibon, Telupid, that he would have a new party by March. That party must be Setia. His people are in contact with Setia president and its secretary-general Ardino Diris,” a source who requested anonymity told FMT.
Another source who claimed familiarity with both groups said that Jeffrey and Sabagong had a series of meetings but that only the inner circles of both men were involved in managing a transition of leadership of the party.
Setia is now expected to hold an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) to pave the way for Jeffrey to take over possibly in early March, as he himself said in Telupid last weekend.
It was also learnt that the Setia constitution provides for a seven-day notice for an EGM to be called by the president.
“Jeffrey is confident and that is why he publicly told the 250 people at the UBF function in Entilibon last week that he would have a party by next month,” an insider said.
The maverick politician announced he would form a new political party in Entilibon over the weekend.
In each of UBF’s dozen roadshows, Jeffrey’s supporters have been asking the former PKR vice- president to form and lead a political party.
It was also learnt that some of Jeffrey’s men have already started laying the groundwork for the new party by approaching leaders and potential leaders from various districts ahead of their takeover of Setia.
They anticipate strong support for Setia which has long been considered a “mosquito party” and merely there to make up the numbers.
Setia or Parti Demokratik Setiasehati Kuasa Rakyat Bersatu Sabah was established in 1994 by Shuhaidin Langkap, a Muslim convert from the interior of the state.
The party was never fully active but somehow managed to put up a few candidates in previous general elections.
A little more than a year ago, Setia was sued by Shuhaidin who challenged Sabagong’s presidency.
However, the High Court here declared Sabagong was the rightful president.
If all goes as Jeffrey and Sabagong have planned, Setia is poised to partner the Sarawak National Party or SNAP and form a national third force called Borneo Alliance to be jointly led by Jeffrey and Daniel Tajem, a respected Dayak elder who was once a Sarawak deputy chief minister and also a former Malaysian High Commissioner to New Zealand.
Both Jeffrey and Sabagong have been tight-lipped on the plan. Sabagong, however, was seen with Jeffrey at an UBF function at Kampung Sayap in Kota Belud late last year soon after UBF was unveiled in Penampang on Dec 16, 2010.
He has not been seen since at UBF functions, but according to insiders, barring last-minute glitch over the takeover, Sabagong will play a senior role in the revitalised Setia. By Luke Rintod