Time for unity and reconciliation ... let the past
be a lesson for us
By Shamsul Akmar and
15 November 2001
LUMPUR, Wed. — Top Parti Bersatu Sabah leaders
will submit their application to rejoin Barisan Nasional
tomorrow. PBS president Datuk Seri Joseph Pairin Kitingan
and his deputy Dr Maximus Ongkili will hand over the
application to the BN.
who confirmed this today, said the PBS hoped that
its application would be given favourable consideration
by the coalition. "It is time for unity and reconciliation
... let the past be a lesson for us to move forward
together," he said in a telephone interview.
development came just one day after the PBS supreme
council gave its approval to seek re-admission into
BN chairman Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad, asked
about PBS' intention to rejoin the BN, said he was
willing to consider the matter as he is "a forgiving
kind of person". The Prime Minister was speaking to
reporters at MIC president and Works Minister Datuk
Seri S. Samy Vellu's Deepavali open house at the Chung
Hwa Independent Secondary School in Jalan Ipoh here.
He acknowledged he had once stated that the party
would never be accepted into BN's fold again after
leaving the coalition on the eve of the 1990 general
election. "At moments like that, I made such statements.
But you may remember I have also said that I will
never accept Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah (former president
of the nowdefunct Parti Melayu Semangat 46) in but
he is with us now. I am a very forgiving kind of person."
PBS abruptly quit the BN before the 1990 general election
to join the then opposition coalition led by Semangat
46. The act was described by BN leaders then as a
"stab in the back". Dr Mahathir also described PBS'
intention to rejoin BN as a good thing to happen.
"The more the merrier," he quipped. However, he said,
the BN would consider PBS' credentials and sincerity.
"We do not want to see what the Malays say ‘banana
which fruits twice' (pisang berbuah dua kali)."
Mahathir was also asked whether the rotation system
for the Sabah Chief Minister's post would be affected
with PBS' admission. He said the fate of the system
rested with the Sabah people, who would decide what
was best for them.
what the PBS expected from the BN after the application
had been submitted, Ongkili said: "We understand that
our application will go through the normal process
and will be discussed among members of the coalition.
We hope that the application will be processed quickly
so that we can then move on and start working closely
for the benefit of the people of Sabah."
was learnt that the move by PBS to rejoin BN had been
discussed extensively between the two sides. Asked
what made the PBS finally decide to apply to rejoin
the BN, Ongkili said: "To ensure that we can work
together well, we must build a strong foundation.
A strong foundation cannot be built overnight ...
otherwise, it can easily crumble."
PBS has, since the 1994 State election, been the sole
opposition party in the Sabah legislative assembly
and its representation had been eroded by continuous
defections to the BN.