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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Two BN leaders join STAR


The crossover of two senior BN men to opposition STAR means Sabah leaders are beginning to accept the reality of the unfair treatment, says Jeffrey Kitingan.
KOTA KINABALU: Maverick Sabah opposition leader Jeffrey Kitingan had something to smile about this week. Two former Sabah Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition party leaders jumped ship and joined him in the State Reform Party (STAR).
After months of watching Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition leaders going rogue but refraining from joining his Sabah and Borneo-centric party, Kitingan welcomed two more BN want-aways into his fold on Tuesday.
Patrick Paunil, a former United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun and Murut Organisation (Upko) division secretary and John Bague, a senior leader from Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (PBRS) have joined Sabah STAR along with their supporters to provide the local party with fresh impetus as it prepares for the 13th general election.
The crossover will come as a much needed boost for Kitingan whose pleas to his fellow Sabahan politicians to ditch the BN over its decidedly peninsula-bias stand at the expense of Sabah have so far been ignored including by his elder brother Joseph Pairin Kitingan, the de facto leader of the native Kadazandusun community.
Kitingan’s relief that at least some BN leaders are listening to pleas was discernible in his welcome speech to the duo and their supporters at the launching of the party’s Timbou polling district election body in Tambunan, on Tuesday.
“Sabah BN leaders should emulate the both of you and take up the challenge to fight for the restoration of Sabah’s rights and autonomy and to stop the colonisation and further damage to Sabah,” he said.
“A change of the BN support in Sabah will also lead to a change of the BN federal government and stop the rot in Sabah.
“In the true spirit of Sabah rights and autonomy in a true Malaysia federation, the time has arrived for all Sabahans to stand up and unite and remove the BN state government and take charge of their future destiny,” he said.
He also used the occasion to urge other Sabah BN leaders and supporters to follow in their footsteps to fight for the restoration of Sabah rights and autonomy.
Kitingan, who was incarcerated under the recently repealed Internal Security Act (ISA) in the early ’90s for demanding greater autonomy for the state as promised in the Malaysia Agreement of 1963, played down the significance of his party when comparing it to the ideals it was promoting.
He said it was not their support of STAR that was important but what was more important was that their departure from BN which showed that Sabah leaders are beginning to accept the reality that the continued control of Sabah and the unfair treatment of Sabah.
This as well as the marginalisation of the natives, he said, needed to be stopped with a change of the existing BN state and federal governments.
Kitingan said he was convinced that the entry and support of the two former BN coalition parties stalwarts would not only further strengthen STAR in Tambunan but would also cause a further dent and reduce the support of BN in the state.

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