Saturday, July 14, 2012

PBS gains with return to Barisan

ADECADE after it rejoined the Barisan Nasional (BN), Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) can look back with a sense of satisfaction that it made the right decision.
Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan (second from left) and his party, who have discovered the benefits of harmony within the state Barisan Nasional led by Datuk Seri Musa Aman (left), with other BN component leaders at the PBS Hari Raya Aidilfitri open house last year.
Known for being vocal to the extent of being branded as confrontational and parochial when raising issues involving the state, the party's decision to return to the BN's fold did not come easy. It had to consider the feelings and sentiments of its supporters who appeared content with the party's vocal stance, although such an approach proved fruitless.

In fact, the PBS had endeared itself to the people because it was vociferous. Formed 27 years ago, the PBS, which was in power in Sabah from 1985 to 1994, ditched the BN on the eve of the 1990 general election.

Although the PBS successfully won the state election in 1994 albeit with a simple majority, barely two months later it had to surrender power to the BN after several of its assemblymen joined Umno.

The next eight years before its return to the BN family in 2002 made the party realise that it had to change its approach when presenting its case to the Federal Government on issues pertaining to the interest of the state and the people. The party had come to accept that being vocal does not necessarily bring the desired results. In fact, such a stance had only led to animosity and given rise to suspicion, to the detriment of the party.

It was time the party embraced a new approach, hence the decision to re-apply to join the BN in 2002.

With it back in the BN, it adopted what it calls the 3C (consultation, communication and cooperation) approach.

"The 3C approach has proven to be more effective in getting ourselves heard," said PBS vice-president Datuk Radin Malleh, who credits party president Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan for the decision to rejoin BN.

Among the latest positive results arising from PBS' return to the BN is the federal government's approval for the setting up of the Kadazan-Dusun-Murut (KDM) College in Pairin's hometown of Tambunan. The launching of the KDM College by Datuk Seri Najib Razak, indicated the cordial ties between the KDM community and the prime minister.

Another notable struggle of the PBS that has come to fruition was the declaration of Sept 16, the day Malaysia was formed, as a national public holiday by the federal government. But despite the many positive things that have come following the PBS re-entry into the BN, some continue to hurl unwarranted negative remarks against the party.

Among them is the perception that the party has become "toothless" and that it no longer dared to speak up for the people.

"The people should know by now that we have achieved much more of what we have been fighting for by adopting the 3C approach.

"Being vocal does not necessarily yield the results we want," Malleh said.

With the 13th general election expected to be called soon, the people of Sabah will have a choice between embracing the PBS' 3C approach which has obviously borne results or the politics of hate propagated by the opposition, particularly the State Reform Party helmed by Pairin's political nomad brother Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan.

The people should not allow themselves to fall into the trap of the opposition who are fond of playing up emotions to garner support and sympathy.

Read more: PBS gains with return to Barisan - Columnist - New Straits Times

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