By THE BORNEOTODAY TEAM
KOTA KINABALU – Former chief minister Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan has finally let go of his leadership of Parti Bersatu Sabah, the party he formed in 1985 to topple the mighty Berjaya a few months later.
After 31 years at the helm, Pairin who is currently a deputy chief minister, has passed the baton to his erstwhile deputy of 23 years, Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili.
“Tan Sri (Pairin) will still be around to facilitate, provide guidance and work with the party in the coming election,” said PBS secretary general Datuk Johnny Mositun in a statement Friday.
Pairin, who serves as Infrastructure Development Minister handed over duties of the PBS leadership to Ongkili at the party’s first Supreme Council Meeting held Friday at its headquarters, here.
After delivering his remarks, he left to allow Ongkili to chair the meeting.
“He is taking leave from his presidential duties and will continue to carry out his ministerial and community work until the end of the term,” said Mositun.
“Pairin called on party leaders at all levels to cooperate, stay united and work hard to ensure Barisan Nasional’s victory in the next election, and to render similar support to the acting president,” he added.
He added that Ongkili, who is also the Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister, will oversee all party matters, including preparations for the coming election.
Ongkili’s appointment is the second phase of the succession plan of the party.
On July 29 last year, Pairin initiated the power transition process when he empowered Ongkili, who has been his Deputy President for 23 years, to carry out the presidential duties.