BY THOMAS THAM
KOTA KINABALU – The Sabah DAP and PKR were Sunday left wondering what had hit them when most of their elected representatives and state leaders ditched the two national opposition parties for a still-to-be announced but home-grown set up.
Leading the pack was Sabah PKR chairman Datuk Seri Lajim Ukin and the party secretary-general, Datuk Maijol Mahap, along with Moyog Assemblyman, Terrence Siambun.
On the DAP side, their elected representative from Likas, Junz Wong, who is also state secretary, called it quits, along with about half the state leadership.
Their resignations were officially announced at a gathering called for by Lajim, who is also Klias Assemblyman. However, apart from Siambun, the others have yet to state as to which party they would be joining.
Siambun, in a brief speech, declared his support for former Umno vice chairman, Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal, and ex party colleague Darell Leiking, who is Member of Parliament for Penampang.
At a joint Press conference later, Junz said who quit DAP Sunday have yet to decide on their next political move, but hoped they could all stay together.
“I was surprised myself when I saw the others show up. I wasn’t expecting so many (DAP) people to resign,” he said at the Hotel Yaho in Sembulan.
“We haven’t discussed further yet what our next move will be. We will discuss soon but what is certain is that it will be a local party,” said Junz.
The seven (out of 16 state committee members) who announced their exit include Joan Goh, who was deputy chairman, treasurer David Williams, vice-chairman George Hiew, vice-publicity secretary Charles Manggatal, political education director Nicholas Chak and state committee member Francis Daniel.
“We want to emphasise that we were not persuaded by any particular leader but we left on our own accord. Looking at the latest political development in and outside of the state, this is the right time to unite under a Sabahan platform,” Wong said.
Earlier in his speech during his public resignation, Wong said that the national political climate was divided and Sabah needed its own platform.
“We can no longer rely on a national party to fight our struggle for us. PKR and DAP are still good parties and we still need to work with them, but the opportunity has arisen to fight against the BN in the state,” he said.
Meanwhile, Lajim said the decision to quit was made after taking into account the expectations of the people of Sabah who wanted a local party leadership to fight for the right of Sabahans.
Lajim said he would form a new local party and was currently in the process of registration and obtaining approval from the Registrar of Societies (ROS).
He claimed that nearly 70 per cent of Sabah PKR leaders, including those at ‘cabang’ (division) level, had also quit, along with thousands of ordinary members from throughout the state.
In the 2013 general elections, PKR had won eight state and one parliamentary seats but the numbers dwindled to five state seats after Datuk Jelani Hamdan (Matunggong), Jeremy Malajad (Kadamaian) and Datuk Wilfred Bumburing quit.
Last week, Darell announced that he too was quitting the party which is now left with Christina Liew (Api Api) and Dr Roland Chia (Inanam). However, the grapevine has indicated that Liew too may ditch the party.
As for the DAP, they had won four state seats and two parliament seats in 2013, but its Luyang lawmaker Hiew King Cheu started the ball rolling when he moved over to the MCA.
This was followed by its Kapayan Assemblyman, Edwin Bosi.
With Junz’ defection, DAP now has one State representative in Chan Foong Hin (Sri Tanjong) and two MPs – Steven Wong (Sandakan) and Jimmy Wong (Kota Kinabalu).