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Wednesday, August 15, 2018

GBS will be the state opposition’s new identity

Sabah Umno chief Hajiji Mohd Noor says the party has agreed to join other state-based parties to form Gabungan Bersatu Sabah

KOTA KINABALU - The curtain will finally come down on Barisan Nasional (BN) in Sabah when Gabungan Bersatu Sabah (GBS), a coalition of opposition parties that will include Umno, is formalised in the next 10 days.

Jeffrey Kitingan, the president of Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (STAR) and one of the leading proponents of GBS, said the new entity will be the state opposition’s new identity as a group.

“Right now, we are finalising the requirements by the Registrar of Societies (RoS), such as the constitution and the structure.

“So far, we have agreed that the parties to be included in this new coalition will be STAR, Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) and Umno,” he said outside the state legislative assembly today.

He added that other local political parties, such as Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) and Parti Pembangunan Rakyat Sabah (PPRS) from Gabungan Sabah, were also expected to join the new bloc.

Sabah Umno chief and Sulaman assemblyman Hajiji Mohd Noor said that at the national level, Umno was still part of BN but BN was no longer a recognised entity in Sabah.

“Now, we have a new opposition bloc called GBS, that is all. Sabah does not have BN, hence the existence of GBS.

“From now on, Sabah Umno will be in a new bloc which includes PBS, STAR and other local parties,” he said.

The Sabah BN, which had ruled the state since the early 1990s, disintegrated following its defeat in the May 9 election, and has been replaced as the government by the Parti Warisan Sabah-Pakatan Harapan-Upko alliance.

Asked whether the new bloc would work with Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS), the Sarawak political bloc formed by former component parties of BN, Hajiji said the matter had yet to be discussed.

“We need to do this one by one and ensure Gabungan Bersatu Sabah is registered first.

“Once it is official, then we will see. As to which party will be the leader (of GBS), that part we will have to sort out among ourselves later,” he said.

Sabah Umno secretary and Karanaan assemblyman Masidi Manjun further explained that GBS was first mooted as a pact among elected representatives outside the Parti Warisan Sabah-Pakatan Harapan ruling coalition.

“But we considered the fact that maybe one day, there will be a need to formalise the pact as a registered political bloc.

“At the moment, those who agreed to join us include Umno, PBS, STAR and independent assemblymen such as Sukau assemblyman Saddi Abdul Rahman and Nabawan assemblyman Bobby Suan,” he said.

The GBS idea was suggested by PBS president Joseph Pairin Kitingan in May after the party left BN following the coalition’s defeat.

Initially, Pairin had expected all Sabah Umno members would join PBS.

However, FMT was made to understand that, instead of leaving Umno for PBS, some Umno leaders were expected to join another opposition party to pacify their members who might not be comfortable with the idea of joining PBS or STAR.

By Tracy Patrick

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