Saturday, February 5, 2011

UBF: Umno-led Barisan Nasional reduces local politicians and communities to mere by-standers

Pairin defends Umno which once ousted him
Michael Kaung | January 26, 2011

Two former CMs lock horns over 'neutered' role of BN component parties.

KOTA KINABALU: Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) president Joseph Pairin Kitigan has countered opposition criticism that the Umno-led Barisan Nasional government has reduced local politicians and communities to mere by-standers.

“Everyone in BN has been working hard together for the people,” said Pairin, who is Deputy Chief Minister and also Infrastructure Development Minister.

He said that claims by the opposition that leaders from the Kadazandusun Murut communities were at a disadvantage in the BN were nonsense.

Pairin, who heads the Kadazandusun Cultural Association (KDCA) and holds the “huguan siou” (paramount leader) post, said that all eight BN component parties in Sabah have always been close with each other in addressing issues faced by the people.

The other Sabah BN partners are Umno, Upko, PBRS, LDP, MCA, MIC and Gerakan.

However, the former chief minister finds himself in an ironic situation defending the senior coalition partner which overthrew him in the 1994 state election despite PBS securing a victory.

It is also not lost on Pairin that the criticism comes from a former PBS government colleague who left the floundering party shortly after the election to form his own party.

Yong Teck Lee, a former chief minister himself and president of the Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP), said last week that all of the local Sabah political parties now in the BN coalition were neutered since joining the BN government.

Yong contended that leaders of BN components were just tools used by Umno which has the monopoly of power in the coalition.

Not sincere

Yong said that all the component parties like PBS, Upko, PBRS, LDP and even MCA did not have the power to call the shots in BN although they were in office.

Pairin was yesterday forced to refute Yong’s claim after coming under unexpected attacks by a well-known local musician from the community who mocked him in his blog site for not looking after the party earlier this month.

The criticism appeared to have stung Pairin and his party members quickly lodged police reports against the blogger-musician.

Pairin, however, said the criticism by Yong was no surprise and “is a wild remark coming from a disgruntled former BN member”.

He claimed that SAPP had quit the ruling coalition after its demand to be given an extra seat was not granted by the BN.

“He (Yong) is in the opposition now and he would say anything. But when he was in BN, what did he do? Did he fight for the people?

“If he is or ever was fighting for the interest of the people, why did he say all the good things about BN when he was still in the coalition? Why is he singing a different song now that he is out? It is clear he has no sincerity,” Pairin charged.

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