KOTA KINABALU, 2 July 2023: Any idea or move that could promote unity and strengthen the Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) deserved support, said its Information chief Datuk Joniston Bangkuai.
He affirmed that any initiative fostering unity is commendable and deserves recognition, a sentiment he believes is shared by the grassroots.
Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (STAR) President Datuk Seri Dr Jeffrey Kitingan yesterday revealed a potential merger between his party and Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) with the objective of fortifying their political foothold ahead of the next State elections.
Joniston, who is also PBS information chief, reckoned that such a move requires a thorough and thoughtful deliberation between both parties.
“I believe the idea should be first deliberated and discussed thoroughly by the supreme council of both parties on the way forward,” he said.
Considering Sabah’s dynamic political landscape, the fusion of PBS and STAR could symbolise a strategic transformation.
“In the 2020 state elections, there were seats where PBS and STAR contested against each other,” Joniston said, recalling the recent elections where PBS secured seven seats and STAR captured six.
He reemphasised the perpetual challenge of seat distribution and candidate selection, a notorious source of internal discord within political coalitions.
Joniston also harkened back to a similar pact preceding the 2018 general elections involving PBS, the then United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (Upko), and Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (PBRS), despite all three parties being integral members of Barisan Nasional (BN).
“Unity within a political alliance bears unique importance in Sabah’s political arena. A consolidated front could potentially curb divisive actions and disputes over seat allocations.
“The key consideration is unity and that it can potentially reinforce the GRS state coalition,” he asserted.
While the merger proposition garners intense interest and scrutiny, its successful implementation relies on exhaustive discussions and agreement on pivotal matters like the new party’s name, symbol, and leadership structure.
” As long as it promotes unity and strengthens the GRS, I support the idea,” he concluded.