Wither USA: United No More As PCS Contemplate A Change Of Partners

Wilfred M Bumburing

LETTER: The recent chain of events surrounding the position of the opposition leader in the Sabah State Legislative Assembly has attracted a lot of attention, speculation and interpretation from the public. Because the issue also involves me personally, I have since received a lot queries which I feel needs to be explained.

Firstly, it must be understood that there is no provision in the Sabah State constitution and the Standing Order of the Sabah State Legislative Assembly on the position of an official Opposition Leader in the House. The role of an opposition leader was only mooted after the 13th General Election and it was accepted as a matter of fact, without any amendment to both the State Constitution and the Standing Order. The opposition leader’s position does not come with any special allowance attached to it nor any special privileges, except an office on the courtesy of the House.

At the previous DUN sitting in November 2016, I was informed that the three Assemblymen from Parti Warisan Sabah viz. Moyog (Terrence Siambun), Sulabayan (Jaujan Sambakong) and Likas (Junz Wong), had sent a letter to the Speaker in support of myself for the role of opposition leader. I also learned that the ADUN for Api-Api (Christina Liew / PKR) had four votes resulting in a tie, whilst the ADUN for Bingkor (Jeffrey Kitingan / STAR) stayed uncommitted, and the ADUN for Klias stood alone. Because of the tie the Speaker made a decision that the ADUN from Klias continue the role as Opposition chief.

Two days before the April 2017 sitting, I was informed by the ADUN Likas that the three Warisan representatives had once again sent a letter to the Speaker reaffirming their support to me for the role of Opposition leader. This was followed by information from the ADUN Kapayan that he also had sent a letter to the Speaker to inform him of his support for me.

Political alignments and realignments – from left: Keny Chua, Nicholas Chak, Terrence Siambun, Jaujan Sambakong, Christina Liew, Junz Wong, Ginger Phoong (representing the DAP) and an unidentified DAP supporter ant a media conference last week to query the appointment of the Opposition chief.

This resulted with five votes for me and three for ADUN Api-Api, while I understand Bingkor and Klias stayed neutral. Once again the Speaker ruled that the present opposition leader stays because no one had an absolute majority, although the votes were five against three. Because of dissatisfaction that arose from this decision, the three Warisan ADUN and myself met the Speaker for an explanation, to which he affirmed to us his ruling.

I wish to say that prior to the voting there was no meeting or discussion and I suppose that the votes by the individual ADUN were decided on their own free will based on their wish to change the (current) Opposition leader whom they think can lead the opposition members effectively. The decision by the three ADUN from Warisan in (later) switching their support to the ADUN Api Api is at their own discretion, and there is no necessity to debate it. This is a democratic state and freedom of expression must be upheld. The ADUN represent the people and they belong to the people, and therefore let the people make their judgment.

It is interesting to note however the scenario resulting in the alignment, and realignment, in the Sabah DUN. Pakatan Harapan is largely intact, Warisan ADUN stayed together while the ADUN in USA/Gabungan Sabah was in disarray. This would surely give sway to the imagination of the people on the state of affairs within USA/ Gabungan.

I also read on social media about the insinuation that the votes from the three ADUN from Warisan showed that PCS was “baited” by Warisan, smacks of bad intentions. I wish to stress here that PCS is a party of uncompromising integrity, and the people know this. We will not tolerate any questionable moves by any party, foes and friends. If necessary we are always prepared to chart our own path.

The speeches made by some one or two opposition ADUN at the recent sitting is clearly understood by the rakyat – as to the way and direction that they bring their party towards the up-coming election. We (in PCS) are fully aware of the frustration and hopes of the people for change.

Political leaders, especially in the opposition, must not betray them and must offer a sincere and honest struggle. The rakyat, especially those who crave for a change, wants to see a united opposition, without which, our vision to topple the UMNO-led BN government would not be achieved.

In view of what has been happening, especially the political scenario on the opposition side, PCS will be having a full Supreme Council meeting next week to discuss the current political situation involving PCS.

  • Wilfred M Bumburing is State Assemblyman (ADUN) for Tamparuli and president of Parti Cinta Sabah