KOTA KINABALU: Former Parti Warisan Sabah vice-president Peter Anthony quit the party for reasons linked to his ongoing court case, says Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal.
“We are not surprised by his decision to leave the party. I sympathise with him because he (previously) had already expressed his intention following his charges in court,” the Warisan president said in a statement Wednesday (Dec 29).
Warisan lost two assemblymen – Peter (Melalap) and Juil Nuatim (Limbahau) – on Tuesday (Dec 28).
Peter had said he was unhappy with Warisan’s move to spread its wings to Peninsular Malaysia.
He said he decided to form a new political party to be part of the Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) coalition led by Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor.
Shafie dismissed the claim that Warisan’s expansion was a factor, saying that Peter did not object to the move when the decision was made at supreme council level and also unanimously endorsed by the party’s Dec 12 annual general meeting.
“It is not true and it is just an excuse,” said Shafie, who along with Peter was a founding leader of Warisan in 2016.
He said Peter’s move to form a new party and join GRS would further splinter the Sabah people especially in the state’s interior.
He questioned Peter’s reasoning for forming a new multiracial party to join GRS, while saying at the same time that the people of each state should decide on their own leaders.
“His stand is contradictory,” Shafie said, pointing out that GRS consists of national parties (Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, Umno, PAS, MCA, Gerakan and MIC) as well as Kadazandusun-Murut parties (STAR Sabah, PBS and PBRS) and local party SAPP.
“GRS is led by a member of the national party Bersatu, hence the decision of the state government is determined by the chairman of his party at the national level,” Shafie added.
He said Warisan’s expansion to Peninsular Malaysia was to offer alternatives to Malaysian voters as the need was quite clear from the low voter turnout of about 60% in the recent Melaka and Sarawak state elections.
“This shows many voters want better options, parties that are capable of bringing change for the good of the country and the people,” Shafie said.
He also said it was unfortunate that Juil was influenced by Peter into making a hasty decision.
Shafie reiterated that Warisan was committed to its agenda of safeguarding Sabah’s rights under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 and to work for all Malaysians as a multiracial party representing various races and religions.
“Our direction is to build a nation regardless of race and religion. Let us build it together,” he added.