PCS Still Firm On Grand Opposition Alliance; Snubs Return To Gabungan

PENAMPANG: Parti Cinta Sabah has not given up on its desire to establish a grand opposition alliance in the state while at the same time continue to fight to restore the dignity of the Kadazandusun-murut community.

PCS president, Wilfred Bumburing said he had received assurances from DAP Sabah leaders that they too are keen in an opposition coalition, adding he was encouraged by reports that Parti Warisan Sabah and PKR too were keen to forge an alliance.

Bumburing, right, with Dr Richard Gunting, a deputy president of PCS.

However, it looks as if PCS has burned its bridges with its former partners in Gabungan Sabah, which they quit in late April, citing various reason, with Bumburing saying that they do not wish to associate with Barisan Nasional-friendly parties.

Speaking at the PCS state-level Kaamatan celebration at Kampung Pogunon here on Friday Bumburing said the presence of several DAP leaders at the gathering indicated that the idea of a grand opposition alliance could become a reality.

Earlier in the week PKR Sabah chairperson, Christina Liew said the national opposition front can work out an electoral pact with Warisan when the time comes, along with one or two local parties.

She said as far as PCS was concerned, PKR would cross the bridge when it got to it.

At a function in Kota Kinabalu on Wednesday, Warisan president Shafie Apdal did not rule out the possibility of working out a pact with like-minded opposition parties, and that included PCS.

It is understood that DAP Sabah secretary Chan Foong Hin had said they do not have any problems with the formation of a grand opposition alliance.

Explaining their quitting Gabungan Sabah, Bumburing said PCS’ major reason to exit the alliance was that it did not want to be associated with “parti-parti tajaan BN” (BN-sponsored parties).

“We cannot subscribe to an agenda that says ‘we will only talk to any party after GE14’ which includes talking to even UMNO, as is being adopted by Gabungan Sabah,” he said.

A group of Murut men and women singing traditional songs in their dialect at the PCS Kaamatan.

“I strongly believe that given the current scenario, the grand alliance comprising all like-minded opposition parties including those in Semenanjung (peninsula) will materialise before GE14.”

In his speech, Bumburing reiterated that KDM leaders in BN had failed to defend and protect, not just the rights, but also the community’s customs and traditions.

One example, he pointed out, is a pending native court hearing in Keningau where an UMNO divisional leader is alleged to have insulted the KDM adat and tradition.

“A native in keningau filed a summons to bring the said UMNO leader to answer charges against him at the Keningau Native Court, but the hearing keeps getting postponed time and again,” he said.

“To think that the ‘Batu Sumpah’ (Oath Stone) lies in Keningau where ‘adat’ and belief of the KDM would have been seen to beprotected by the (BN) government, yet in truth it is not, and our KDM leaders on the other side of the fence remain silent as if nothing happened.”

On the Kaamatan, Bumburing said as a KDM-based multi-racial party, it was only appropriate that PCS celebrate it on a state-level basis.

“Kaamatan is synonymous with the KDM; its culture and socio-economic activities, it is our strongest position that Kaamatan remains that way,” he said, adding PCS strongly opposed any attempt to include religious undertones in any Kaamatan celebration.

He also ticked off the BN government which claimed it was against politicising the Kaamatan, yet they themselves are doing so, right from village level even though it is organised or attended by village leaders such Ketua Kampung, KAN and WKAN.

According to Bumburing, opposition leaders are conveniently left out of the celebration, be it at village level, even though it is a traditional festival.