KOTA KINABALU: As an opposition party with its main objective to topple Barisan Nasional (BN), Sabah STAR should focus on doing just that instead of taking ‘potshots’ at fellow opposition parties.
Angkatan Perubahan Sabah (APS) president Datuk Seri Panglima Wilfred Bumburing in saying this, added that it was also claimed that Sabah STAR was in ‘cahoots’ with BN.
“The statement by Sabah STAR chairman Datuk Dr Jeffry Kitingan confirms what I have suspected about his role and mission in approaching the 13th general election. As an opposition party, STAR should be attacking Barisan Nasional, but instead they choose to attack fellow opposition parties.
“They do this because STAR is working for BN to split the votes in the coming election,” the Tuaran member of parliament said.
Bumburing was of the opinion that Jeffrey has a problem with finding words to attack him apart from describing him of practising ‘cari makan’ politics.
“If I were to practise ‘cari makan’ politics, then the best platform would be to remain in BN. Generally, wouldn’t you find it very ironic for someone who left the comfort of a ruling party like BN to join the opposition camp and be labeled as practising ‘politic cari makan’?” he asked.
He believed Jeffrey came to this desperate act because STAR was falling apart since the formation of APS.
“The dissolution of Papar STAR is but the beginning. The people, particularly the KDM (Kadazandusun Murut), began to see the fruitless and almost fairy tale so-called vision of Jeffry such as promising to move the capital of Sabah to Keningau and creating five ‘states’ in Sabah if STAR takes control of the state after GE 13,” he said.
“Personally, I can expect this so-called vision from a person who claims to be able to see ‘fairies’ and able to communicate with the spirits of river stones and jar. My political history is well recorded and I need not have to elaborate.
“In contrast, the people in general, especially Sabahans, are well versed with Jeffrey’s political record. All his political endeavours point to only one thing and that is, he is trapped in his never-quashed-ambition to be the only number one in any political party that he ever joined and his sheer belief, maybe from a spiritual guru prediction, that one fine day he is going to be the chief minister of Sabah,” Bumburing said in a statement yesterday.
He disclosed that way back during the Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) era, after Jeffery was released from Internal Security Act (ISA) detention and confined to house arrest in Kuala Lumpur, he was allowed to travel to Sabah briefly with a mission to persuade Datuk Pairin Kitingan then to step down as president of PBS and Chief Minister of Sabah and that he would take over the post from Pairin.
“He called me to have a meeting and I told him that he could come to meet me at my office at the Ministry of Communication and Works but he told me that he was not that free to move around as he was being followed, because technically he was still under house arrest.
“So I agreed to travel to Tambunan to meet him. In the meeting he told me that he needed my support for him to take over PBS and the state government. I told him that there was no way I would condone the scheme. Therefore the meeting was brief and I came back and I was made to understand that he went back to Kuala Lumpur,” Bumburing claimed.
“I also still remember back in 1994 that he wanted to head Parti Democratic Sabah which we registered when he failed to register his own party. Failing this he also tried to wrest the presidency of PBRS but also failed.
“Then he caused a big problem in AKAR when he tried to take over the presidency of AKAR. So he had ventured in so many places to ‘cari makan’,” Bumburing alleged.
Jeffry he said, mentioned about “certain people who are prepared to sell their soul to secure position”.
“Let me remind Jeffry, lest he forgets, about his own record. Has he not joined the federal government as a deputy minister? Can he also explain to the people about his application twice to become an Umno member?
“Let me clarify to Jeffery that APS is not subservient to any party in Pakatan Rakyat. As announced by Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim recently, APS together with PPPS are equal partners in Pakatan Rakyat.
“We subscribe to the national agenda for change. As per the Borneo agenda, the Kuching Declaration by Pakatan Rakyat is the Borneo agenda of the opposition coalition. The Buku Jingga contains the comprehensive agenda for Sabah. We in APS believe that in order to achieve change, there must be a national coalition of fellow Malaysians,” he said.
According to Bumburing during his meeting with Jeffery in his house, he asked the latter as to what he meant by a “king maker” and also to explain his statement that he was ready to support BN.
He said that Jeffrey’s reply was that as a ‘king maker’ he can bargain.
“I told him that if he was prepared to support BN then why bother to use STAR? He might as well just join BN. Yes of course he won’t join any of the BN component parties because he will never be the number one there.
“I also reminded him about PBS. We won the state government but could not formulate and form changes because Umno is in control. And PBS always had to beg for things it wanted. Our cry about the illegal immigrant issue and poverty in Sabah fell on deaf ears,” he said.
Bumburing claimed that Sabah had always been taken for granted and forgotten and this fact was confirmed by former Prime Minister Tun Mahathir Mohamad Mahathir in his speech in a seminar jointly organized by the Kadazandusun Chamber of Commerce and the Dayak Chamber of Commerce in Kuala Lumpur, that Sabah and Sarawak were ‘terlimpas pandang’ or was overlooked.
“Referring to Jeffery’s so-called quotation of what I said about ‘demanding and leaving’, I wish to state here that it is pure assumption by Jeffry because those words were not from me. Together with Datuk Maijol Mahap, I told him that we in APS would be in a position to press for the interest of Sabah,” he said.
Commenting on SAPP president Datuk Yong Teck Lee’s statement that he was not willing to negotiate with Sabah STAR, Bumburing said there were several reasons for this.
“Firstly, how do I negotiate with Sabah STAR when their leaders choose to attack me in the media. Secondly, any negotiation with Sabah STAR will be fruitless as long as their stand is against parties from Semenanjung Malaysia.
“Thirdly, Jeffry is a person who cannot keep confidential discussions. I remember during the PBS era when we initiated unity talks among PBS, AKAR and PBRS in Kuala Lumpur. After the first round of discussion we agreed not to reveal the discussion to the public as we have agreed to have further discussion in Sabah.
“However, as soon as Jeffery landed in Sabah he revealed everything to the press. When I confronted him as to why he did not abide by our agreement, he just merely said: ‘Well the people need to be informed’.
“I wish to reiterate that APS is all for a united front among the opposition parties in Malaysia and in Sabah. And we believe that the important basis for this is mutual respect and acceptance of each other. It is fruitless to say that we are friends when we continue attacking each other in the press.
“APS is ready and ever willing to discuss with SAPP because we believe that their leaders are sincere and honourable and I personally know almost all their leaders, especially Datuk Yong. We sincerely hope that some compromise can be achieved for the sake of unity in the opposition,” Bumburing said.