KOTA KINABALU, 28 Oct 2009: Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan has resigned as a vice-president of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), and has not ruled out the possibility of rejoining Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) which is led by his elder brother Datuk Seri Joseph Pairin Kitingan.
“At the moment, I will leave my options open. I will decide when the right time comes,” he told Bernama today.
Dr Jeffrey was asked to comment on whether he would consider rejoining PBS, a component party of the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN).
He said he would consult other PKR divisional chiefs, his supporters and grassroots leaders before making a final decision on the matter.
“I’m in no rush to make a decision or to decide our next course of action,” he said. Dr Jeffrey had also resigned as a member of both the party’s supreme council and its political bureau.
Asked if he was ready to team up with former Sabah PKR deputy chairperson Christina Liew, who had also resigned as a supreme council member, Dr Jeffrey said: “Yes, we will work together.”
Dr Jeffrey’s resignation is seen as having dealt a major blow to PKR’s attempt to strengthen itself in Sabah.
Dr Jeffrey, who is expected to send the resignation letter to the party headquarters by today, will remain as an ordinary member of the party, according to his former aide Kanul Gindol.
It is believed that many of the division chiefs, including Dr Jeffrey himself, were disappointed with the decision of PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to appoint Ahmad Thamrin Jaini as the party’s new chief in Sabah.
Sabahan Ahmad Thamrin was named as the new state PKR chief last weekend after a group of division chiefs expressed no-confidence in PKR vice-president Azmin Ali leading the state PKR.
The resignation of Liew as a supreme council members is also seen as a setback for PKR. Liew, who is Kota Kinabalu division chief, announced her resignation as a supreme council member today, following Dr Jeffrey’s resignation.
Liew said, however, that she would remain as a party member and retain the post of Kota Kinabalu division chief.
“I will be submitting my resignation letter to the party president today,” she told Bernama.
Liew said she had always believed that the party was fair and transparent, until the appointment of Datuk Kong Hong Ming as Sabah PKR deputy chairperson and Ahmad Thamrin as the party’s new chief in Sabah.
“My mum had to take the public humiliation of me being replaced (as deputy chairperson) for unknown reasons. I worked so hard for the last nine years to promote Sabah PKR.
“Since the party has disregarded my contribution, I will bow out with dignity now,” she said.
PBS secretary-general Datuk Radin Malleh said the party did not want to speculate on Dr Jeffrey rejoining it.
“We will cross the bridge when the time comes. Right now, we don’t want to speculate on anything,” he said when met after the party’s organising committee meeting.
Sabah Umno secretary Datuk Seri Yahya Hussin, who is a Sabah deputy chief minister, said Dr Jeffrey was welcome to join the party.
“We welcome anybody who wants to join the BN. Of course, we will welcome him back to BN’s side … (because) he is not alone, he [has] supporters as well,” he told reporters when asked if Umno would be willing to accept Dr Jeffrey should he decide to join the party. — Bernama