KOTA KINABALU: Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) president Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili has put an end to speculation that his party would be teaming up with the opposition Parti Warisan Sabah.
Instead, he said he had asked Warisan to become a member or partner of Perikatan Nasional.
In clearing the air, Ongkili said he personally assured Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor that PBS would “remain committed and undivided” in their support for the Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) state government.
The assurance to Hajiji, the GRS chairman, was given when they met during a two-hour Raya courtesy call here on Wednesday (May 19).
“As a backbone of the Sabah government, there is no reason for PBS to waver the strength and unity in the GRS state government,” he said in a statement Thursday (May 20).
Ongkili was with the three PBS deputy presidents Datuk Seri Radin Malleh, Datuk Jahid Jahim and Datuk Dr Yee Moh Chai, vice-president Datuk Dr Joachim Gunsalam and secretary-general Datuk Joniston Bangkuai when they met Hajiji.
“During the courtesy call, our discussions touched on many issues concerning GRS, matters of state government and administration, especially on Covid-19 and economy.
“We also assured him that PBS will give full support to the Chief Minister’s leadership, and that the party machinery will give full cooperation to the implementation of the Sabah Maju Jaya development and strategies,” said Ongkili, who is Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Sabah and Sarawak Affairs).
Ongkili said that his statement last week to welcome Warisan president Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal’s offer to work with PBS was misinterpreted.
“It was misread and surprised certain quarters, and some purposely twisted to create confusion among the people,
“My actual intention was to express the party’s openness to the opposition, especially Parti Warisan, to cooperate with the state and federal governments to achieve our common development goals for the good of Sabah and Sabahans.
“I did not say more than to express the openness to cooperation. After all, it was Warisan who extended the hand of friendship and cooperation in the first place, and their President (Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal) did it during the season of Ramadan, a season to make friends … so it is only proper for us to express a similar gesture for the sake of friendship,” Ongkili explained.