KOTA KINABALU: Tandek assemblywoman Datuk Anita Baranting has become the first Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) elected representative to leave the party for Parti Warisan Sabah (Warisan).
Anita, 63, has been with PBS since its inception 34 years ago also announced her resignation from all party posts. She was PBS’ Women’s Movement Chief and has held the post for two term as well as PBS Tandek deputy division Chief.
In a joint press conference with Warisan President Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal today, Anita said that the decision to join the party was made of her own accord.
She also said that joining her are about 50 members of the ‘Tandek Squad’, which is the Barisan Nasional (BN) Tandek election machinery comprising leaders and members from MCA, Gerakan and Umno.
“The decision to join Warisan was not a hasty one, it took us a few months after the 14th general election to make it. Warisan is the ruling party in Sabah, and we want to continue helping the government and serving the people so that the state will progress,” she said adding that they also carried out a survey among the grassroots to assess their response to the move and it was positive.
Anita also said that Warisan’s sincerity in fighting for the people after the May 9 polls ignited her interest in the party.
Anita who was absent from PBS’ anniversary celebration on Tuesday night said that she has not informed party president Datuk Dr Maximus Ongkili of her decision, adding, “and there is no need to submit a resignation letter as PBS’ constitution states that when we support another party, our membership is automatically null.
With Anita’s exit, PBS is left with five state seats, namely Matunggong, Tamparuli, Kiulu, Kundasang and Labuk as well as one parliamentary seat, Kota Marudu.
Shafie meanwhile said that Anita’s decision to join Warisan was historical for the party and it shows the Tandek assemblywoman and her entourage’s desire to be on track with a local party that ensures to ensure unity in the rakyat as well as development and progress for the state.
The Sabah Chief Minister also said that there is a need to reduce politicking, so that state leaders can improve their efforts to assist the rakyat.
In Anita, whom he has known for a long time, Shafie said he sees a leader who works for the rakyat and is happy to accept her as well as her entourage into Warisan’s fold.
“What is important for us as politicians is to ensure that the rakyat is looked after to the best of our abilities. Warisan and its partners express our gratitude because we have said so many times that there is a need for us to be united in developing and bringing progress to Sabah.
“Our halatuju is to develop the state and help the rakyat to the best of our abilities. I do not want to promise what we cannot give. But we develop the state and defend the rights of the people and state. That is what we are fighting for,” he stressed.