By HENRYNUS AMIN
COMMENT: Parti Bersatu Sabah should stop boasting about being the second largest political party in the Sabah Barisan Nasional even after losing six State seats in the last general election, to avoid being the laughing stock for their over-sized ego.
It is regreted that PBS has arrogantly rejected the Tataba initiative to unite and merge PBS, UPKO and PBRS, prior to GE13 which was originally intended to strenghten the Momogun voice within Barisan Nasional.
A small group of powerful PBS leaders with deep hatred and distrust of UPKO and PBRS conspired to sabotage the Tataba plan from the very beginning.
Even today, these leaders continue to be boastful about PBS political strength and have no shame in claiming to be the second largest BN component political party though having only a token seven state assemblymen out of 60, and four Members of Parliament out of 222 MPs.
The Tataba unity project, of which I was the Chief Coordinator, was a CSR project privately funded by a certain public listed company obtained through the personal connection with the then PBS Secretary General.
The Tataba CSR unity project was implementated in 2012 with the close cooperation of the then Secretary General of UPKO and also the current Secretary General of PBRS as part of confidence-building measures to promote PBS-UPKO-PBRS unity and close cooperation and possibly leading to a merger within the BN framework.
In fact, the then Secretary Generals of PBS, UPKO and PBRS, all Momogun-based political parties in BN prior to GE13, often met for “kupi-kupi” (coffee) to discuss the challenges especially on the issue of Momogun unity, and it was during such informal meetings that the Tataba unity initiative was conceived.
TATABA MERGER INITIATIVE
We divided the task of implementing the Tataba CSR Unity Project among ourselves whereby PBS was in charge of the distribution of high-yielding timber clone rubber seedlings to Momogun families, UPKO was assigned to distribute assistance to churches and PBRS to organise the Tataba Unity Sports Carnivals.
The Tataba merger initiative culminated in the meeting of the Presidents of the three Momogun-based parties during the launching of the church assistance attended by the Council of Churches and later during the Tataba Unity Gathering at Hongkod Koisaan (KDCA Building) in 2013. At this gathering attended by some 5,000 people, the Presidents of the three Momogun-based parties reiterated their commitment to close cooperation and work towards Momogun unity.
For the record, Bernard G Dompok, then UPKO President, was open to the idea of a merger and was willing to discuss without pre conditions. Even Joseph Kurup, the PBRS President, was interested with the idea on condition there is sincerity.
But top political leaders in PBS poured cold water to the Tataba initiative due to their deep distrust and even hatred of UPKO and PBRS leaders.
This group of selfish PBS leaders insisted on UPKO and PBRS to first disband before their members were allowed to rejoin PBS.
I remember as early as 2002 when Dompok volunteered to disband UPKO to allow for an UPKO-PBS merger to establish a Momogun power block within BN, but a group of PBS leaders including Mositun, put up ludicrous and unreasonable conditions to sabotage the unity efforts, even though Joseph Pairin Kitingan then PBS President, had initially approved the unity plan.
I know because I initiated the move to merge PBS and UPKO and sought Pairin’s blessing based on credible information given to me by a Momogun corporate leader close to Dompok.
After GE13, PBS, UPKO and PBRS lost interest in the Tataba unity initiative and once again became victims of the divide-and-rule tactics of hidden hands.
PBS’ worst performance in GE13 confirmed my worst fear that the party was indeed moving in the wrong direction against the popular will of their own supporters.
It was against this background that I decided to fight Dr Maximus Ongkili for the post of PBS deputy President to bring back a sense to an otherwise arrogant but selfish and unreasonable leadership.
I was fully aware of the impossible situation to fight against a serving federal minister but I was determined to make a political statement by challenging the sheer arrogance of the PBS leadership hostile to Momogun unity.
I lost the contest for obvious reasons but I managed to secure 30 per cent of the delegates mostly Momogun delegates who voted with their conscience, not their pockets.
After GE13, the Tataba CSR initiative continued but this time the implementation was coordinated through certain church leaders affiliated with the Council of Churches and was deemed apolitical.
I regret Mositun’s allegation of pecuniary gain in the supply of Tataba assistance in my opinion is ‘a slandererous and malicious allegation’ that will be looked into by my legal advisers.
I am demanding Mositun to retract and apologize for his slander or to prove that I benefited even one sen from the purchase of materials for Tataba CSR unity project.
I am not amused by Mositun and his malicious allegations and it is within my right to seek legal recourse.
For the record, it was by the grace of God that Tataba managed to secure more than RM10 million worth of CSR allocations from a donor with the blessings of the Prime Minister.
But not even a sen went through my hands or through PBS, UPKO or PBRS.
While it was true, I was the chief architect of the Tataba assistance as I was the one who wrote the Tataba proposals and helped establish needs and identify beneficiaries, the CSR sponsor sent his own team to carry out the bulk purchase and distribution of all forms of assistance to 20 DUN areas where Momogun voters were majority.
PBS and/or Mositun will regret this scornful attack against the Tataba CSR program since more than 50,000 families in 20 Momogun-majority State Seats were beneficiaries of 700,000 high yielding timber clone rubber seedlings.
More than 1,500 rural churches of all denominations received assistance in the form of repairs and equipment such as cement, bricks, iron bars, plywood, pipes, zinc sheets, loud speakers, key boards, LCD projectors, grass cutters, chainsaws, guitars etc.
Tataba also sponsored the training of pre-school teachers at diploma levels and assisted more than 200 pre-schools in terms of building materials and supply of books or teaching materials.
Tataba funding has since stopped in 2014 and the entire expenses was fully accounted for through a comprehensive report written by the company assigned by the Tataba CSR donor to implement their project.
I am fully aware of Mositun’s attempt to belittle the significance of my role as then Secretary General but I will let history judge my work.
My little contribution to PBS since 1987 as a member, rising to PBS Youth Secretary, PBS Divisional Chief for Ranau, PBS Information Chief for six years as well as PBS Secretary General for four years, may not amount much, but I took pride in the fact I hold on to my principles, rather than serve in a political party that no longer serves the purpose for which it was formed in 1985.
• Henrynus Amin is President of Parti Kerjasama Anak Negeri
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