|Wednesday, 08 December 2010 02:20|
By: JOE FERNANDEZ
FORMER PKR vice-president Jeffrey Kitingan, 62, would not accept again if formally appointed for another term to his old party post. Jeffrey had declined 40 nominations in mid-October to vie for one of the four elected VP posts.
However, the word from the party headquarters is that he may be re-appointed as one of the four nominated VPs to join the four elected recently.
“It’s pointless being the vice-president again when Anwar Ibrahim, De Facto Party Chief has not kept his promise to allow the Sabah and Sarawak chapters of the party to be autonomous,” said Jeffrey over dinner last night at Lintas here.
“He had promised under the Sabah peace plan of late 2009 to amend the party constitution.”
He was explaining why he objected to being addressed as vice-president during a party gathering of division chiefs and senior activists, dubbed Friendship Dinner, on Sunday at the Tuaran residence of former Federal Deputy Minister, Datuk Kalakau Untol.
“Kalakau was in Kuala Lumpur recently and met with Anwar,” said Jeffrey who is the PKR Division Chief for Pensiangan. “So, he wanted to brief us as well on his meeting and one of the issues raised in KL was a Vice-President from Sabah and Sarawak.”
Kalakau, who addressed Jeffrey as vice-president during the dinner gathering, explained the Sabah strongman would be re-appointed to his old post when the latter objected to the manner in which he was being addressed.
Jeffrey, when asked whether he would accept the vice-president’s post if Anwar kept his promises to Sabah and Sarawak, replied that he “would have to think about it again”.
He said that his struggle was not about posts and positions, whether in the party or government, “especially at my age”. His emphasis, according to Jeffrey, was on issues, the people, principles and priorities.
Asked about Tuaran division chief Ansari Abdullah, a losing candidate in the party polls, being appointed as vice-president, Jeffrey said that “he can take it if he wants”. He doesn’t know whether appointing a vice-president from among losers for the post would be an issue among party members.
“It would be better if the vice-presidency was given to Sarawak,” said Jeffrey, pointing out that Sabah held the post the last time. “They are desperate (for recognition) out there because the state election will be held soon.”
'Anwar won't keep his promises'
Jeffrey doesn’t think that Anwar would keep his promises to Sabah and Sarawak except on the question of the oil royalty.
“Anwar will give 20% each in oil royalty to Sabah and Sarawak,” said Jeffrey. “He knows that he has to do at least this in order to get a certain minimum number of parliamentary seats in Sabah and Sarawak.”
Anwar, added Jeffrey, was not concerned about Sabah and Sarawak issues as he had limited aims in the two states to ‘get to Putrajaya’.
Kalakau had also told the Sunday night dinner gathering that “Anwar had agreed to four leaders deciding on the PKR candidates in Sabah for the next general election”.
Jeffrey, according to Kalakau’s briefing, would select the candidates for the Dusun including Dusun Muslim seats; Christina Liew and Kong Hong Ming, Kota Kinabalu and Tawau division chiefs respectively, would jointly decide on the Chinese candidates; and Libaran division chief Ahmad Thamrin Jaini would decide on the non-Dusun Muslim seats.
Jeffrey, however, did not want to dwell on the issue and remains rather pessimistic on the reported Anwar offer on selection of candidates. He pointed out that Anwar did not keep his promise to allow Sabah PKR to select the candidate for the recent by-election in Batu Sapi.
A six-member PKR committee, headed by Jeffrey, had negotiated the seat with DAP and PAS. The committee had also short-listed Liew and Kong for Batu Sapi. A rebel group in Sabah PKR came up with an alternative list of three candidates and Anwar went along with its demands.
“We have lost interest (in Anwar and PKR),” said Jeffrey while declining to discuss whether he would abandon PKR. “We will continue our struggle (outside PKR) through the Third Force and NGOs.”
He hinted that he may extend his two-month leave from PKR which ends on Dec 16, but nevertheless will spend time ‘taking care of Pensiangan’.
The parliamentary seat, held by Federal Deputy Minister Joseph Kurup who was awarded the seat by an election court, covers the Sook and Nabawan state seats. Kurup is also the president of Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (PBRS) which suspended and expelled Jeffrey when he attempted to unseat the former from his party post.