KUALA LUMPUR – PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said Monday, she intends to lead PKR to be the driving force that unites all parties against the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) in Sabah and elsewhere.
She added that her chief of staff, Datuk Saifuddin Nasution Ismail, has been assigned to meet party leaders in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, this week to ensure continuity in the party’s preparation for the next general election.
She said that after 18 years and various ups and downs, Keadilan remains the only party that brings every race and every group on a multiracial and progressive platform.
“We are the only party in Malaysia’s history to have had elected representatives in every state and of every ethnicity,” she said in response to mass defections of PKR leaders and members in Sabah on Sunday.
Describing as unacceptable the actions of Sabah lawmakers who defected despite winning their seats under her party’s banner, Wan Azizah said the practice of elected MPs or [assemblymen] abandoning the party on whose ticket he was initially elected cannot be condoned.
“While I try to understand and empathise with him (Lajim Ukin, the PKR Sabah chief) on the need to reflect a more Sabah emphasis in the campaign against BN, I can only express regret that such a thing happened.”
Dr Wan Azizah said in a statement, said all of PKR’s 26 divisions in Sabah, including Labuan, will remain strong and functional because it was “individual leaders” who left the party.
Eleven Sabah Pakatan Harapan leaders quit PKR, including Lajim, and DAP Sunday for local platforms.
Moyog assemblyman Terrence Siambun who will join the new party started by former Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal. He teams up with Penampang MP Darell Leiking quit as PKR vice-president earlier.
Alongside Lajim and Siambun, Datuk Maijol Mahap quit as Sabah PKR state secretary and Johair Matlani as the state chapter’s Wanita chief.
Seven Sabah DAP office bearers also resigned, including Likas assemblyman Junz Wong who quit his secretary position in the state chapter, but said he has yet to decide on his next political move.
Dr Wan Azizah said Keadilan is the first national multiracial party which recognised the rights of Sabah and Sarawak in accordance to the spirit and letters of the Malaysian Agreement; as one of the pillars of the reforms our nation has to adopt.
“We have mainstreamed the Malaysian Day celebration, Borneonisation and Sabah autonomy long before other parties join in the chorus,” she added.
“I wish Datuk Seri Panglima Lajim Ukin and others good luck in their next endeavours.
“I am positive that they will work within a cooperative framework with Pakatan Harapan Sabah to ensure a one-to-one [contest] in all state and parliamentary seats in Sabah in the next general election,” added Dr Wan Azizah.