PENAMPANG: Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Haji Hajiji Haji Noor said it is crucial for the people to be united so that Sabah can become strong without having to rely on other political giants.
“If we are united and strong, we can chart our own political destiny. And it is for this very reason, I took the challenge to gather Sabahan leaders under the Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS),” he said at the opening of the United Sabah National Organisation (Usno) headquarters at Wisma Usno in Donggongon Avenue here on Sunday night.
He said the main objective of forming GRS was for all local parties in Sabah to unite under one roof. And, Hajiji recakked that it was not an easy task to bring leaders such as Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia (Usno), Datuk Seri Panglima Yong Teck Lee (SAPP), Datuk Seri Panglima Dr Jeffrey Kitingan (Star), Datuk Seri Panglima Dr Maximus Ongkili (PBS) and now two others Datuk Chin Su Phin (LDP) and Tan Sri Liew Yun Fah (Parti Harapan) into GRS.
“There were many obstacles and challenges but my intention in gathering all these leaders is sincere. “I want Sabah to move forward and to be respected,” said Hajiji who is also GRS chairman.
He also reminded that politics was dynamic and could change according to time and circumstances which had seen Sabah changing government several times beginning from Usno, Berjaya, PBS, BN, Warisan, Bersatu and now to GRS.
The Chief Minister turned emotional when reminiscing his involvement in politics that began in Usno in 1990 when he was handpicked by then Usno President, the late Tun Mustapha Datu Harun, to stand in Sulaman.
“I was in the civil service and I would have never thought of becoming a politician with Usno being in the opposition then.
“I knew it was not easy to be an opposition Assemblyman but after pondering for a couple of weeks I accepted and won,” he said.
Hajiji attributed his victory to Usno’s struggle, which was close to the hearts of the people.
“It was where my political struggle started. And, that is why I did not hesitate when invited by Tan Sri Pandikar to officiate at the opening of Wisma Usno tonight.
“I came because I remember and respect all that Usno had done for me,” he said.
Meanwhile Hajiji advised Usno members and supporters to continue standing behind Pandikar Amin in the effort to rebuild the party to become strong in GRS.
Later, Hajiji accompanied by Pandikar signed the commemoration plaque before visiting the Wisma Usno building.
Also present were Usno supreme council members, Umno Usukan Assemblyman Datuk Salleh Tun Said, GRS Kota Kinabalu chief, Datuk Faisyal Yusof Hamdain Diego and GRS leaders.