PBS may as well close shop if it is to give away Tambunan, its sacred founding place, and concede that STAR has more influence in Tambunan than PBS

I was shocked and even somewhat angry to learn that PBS had given away Tambunan, its sacred founding place in 1985, and conceded that STAR has more influence in Tambunan than PBS in a truce agreement this afternoon arranged by the Home Minister, Hamzah Zainuddin.

I am not a member of PBS, but in 1985 and 1986, I had spoken up in Parliament and outside in support and defence of PBS, and at that time, Tambunan assumed national fame and importance as the place where ordinary voters stood up against injustice and oppression.

How can PBS give away its sacred founding place?

Just as UMNO deputy president Mohamad Hasan has just said that UMNO might as well close shop in Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu if its ally PAS does not want to discuss sharing seats in the three states it controls, many Sabahans think that PBS might as well close shop if it is going to give away Tambunan, its sacred founding place.

The founder of PBS, Joseph Pairin Kitingan, has hit the campaign trail to garner support for PBS.

Speaking at Kiulu, Joseph Pairin said PBS was founded by him and rose to power to fight a “cruel” and oppressive government.

That was in the eighties, particularly in 1985 and 1986, after the famous Tambunan by-election in 1985.

As Joseph Pairin said, there were restrictions on religious freedom and influx of illegal immigrants.

He reminisced: “The people were uneasy. PBS was created by the people to fight cruelty and injustice."

But that was 35 years ago. Today, PBS has metamorphosed and has become the party of cruelty and injustice.

This is why PBS can agree to give away its sacred founding place, Tambunan, in a truce with STAR arranged by Hamzah today. It must be an embarrassment for a party of cruelty and injustice to have Tambunan as a sacred founding place!

I feel sad and somewhat angry at what I would describe as “the rise and fall” of PBS, which is reflected by the history of general election results of PBS in the past 35 years.

In its heyday from 1985-1990, PBS won 25 state assembly seats in the 1985 General Election, 34 seats in the 1986 General Election and 36 seats in the 1990 General Election. Then the decline started and progressively worsened.

In the 1994 General Election, PBS was reduced to 25 seats, which fell to 17 seats in the 1999 General Election, 13 seats in the 2004 General Election, 12 seats in the 2008 General Election, 7 seats in the 2013 General Election, 6 seats in the 2018 General Election, and now, in 2020, conceding away its sacred founding place of Tambunan to STAR.

Joseph Pairin had two chances in Sabah politics to put things right, but which he failed to do.

He was Sabah Chief Minister for 10 years from 1985 to 1994 and Sabah Deputy Chief Minister under UMNO from 2004 to 2018.

What did he do in his two terms of high office in Sabah lasting 25 years to resolve long-standing issues in Sabah like that of the illegal immigrants?

As both the Pairin brothers , Joseph and Jeffrey, have accused each other of selling out KDM (Kadazan, Dusun and Murut) interests on the issue of illegal immigrants, does the partial truce between PBS and Star mean that they now agree that they have both betrayed the KDM constituencies?

If the two Pairin brothers are genuine in wanting to protect the interests of the KDM communities and the Sabah people from the problem of illegal immigrants, they should join forces and tell Hamzah that he was very wrong to threaten that he, as Home Minister, would not take action against the illegal immigrants if UPKO chairman, Wilfred Madius Tangau is not defeated in the Kiulu State Assembly seat so that the PBS Information chief Joniston Bangkuai could win.

Both Joseph and Jeffrey should have closed ranks in the interests of KDM community and all Sabahans to tell Hamzah that regardless who wins or loses in the Sabah general election on Sept. 26, the Federal Government should not abuse its powers and should carry out its duties and responsibilities with regard to the illegal immigrants.

It is sad to see Joseph and Jeffrey forming an united front to condone the gross abuse of powers and to do so at the behest of the ambitious Home Minister, who is hoping to become Prime Minister soon.

Just like giving away the sacred founding place of PBS, this conveyed a sense of shocking betrayal of the rights and interests of the people of Sabah.

Both the Pairin brothers have accused each other of subservience to Malayan leaders and interests.

Why then did they kowtow to their new boss from Malaya, the Home Minister, Hamzah Zainuddin?

The time has come for a new uprising, not only of the KDM communities but for all people of Sabah, whether Suluks, Bajaus or Chinese, to jointly work for a New Sabah and a New Malaysia.

Lim Kit Siang MP for Iskandar Puteri