Friday, January 23, 2009




BS President Datuk Seri Joseph Pairin Kitingan and PBRS President Tan Sri Joseph Kurup have been ordered to stop their public spat over the candidature if a by-election for the Pensiangan seat were to be called.

“It (public quarrel) is of no good for anybody. Jam not siding anybody but they are just biting eaéh other and I want to tell this senior leaders that it is only Barisan that will be the loser,” Sabah Barisan Nasional (BN) Secretary Datuk Karim Bujang said yesterday.

He said this when contacted about a public spat between Pairin and Kurup over the Pensiangan candidacy with a by-election looming.

Pairin had said that BN should do away with its seat sharing quota system and place candidates that could win a seat in reference to Pensiangan, but Kurup responded with a sharp rebuke that his election machinery is in place and asked Pairin not to interfere.

Karim said the two are senior leaders who should know that such a public spat was not in the BN spirit.

“If they had any ideas or grouses they should bring up at closed door meeting where they could pow wow as much as they want,” he said, adding: “I think it will be stupid for Barisan to tell them it is wrong to argue in public.”

Pensiangan, a rural parliamentary constituency with about 19,000 mainly ethnic Murut voters, was won unopposed by Kurup in the March 2008 general
election but an Election Court on Sept 8 declared the result null and void.

Kurup, who is Deputy Rural and Regional Development Minister, has appealed to the Federal Court which is scheduled to hear the case and decide on Feb 12-13.

Kurup took over the Pensiangan parliamentary seat from his former secretary general Bernard Maarat who has since joined PBS, and has voiced his intention to contest the seat if a by-election is

Two clays ago, PBS Secretary General Datuk Radin Malleh came to Pairin’s defence, and slammed Kurup by asking him to do some soul searching in terms of the achievements in the area he had served as Assemblyman since 1985.

The constituency which makes up of the State seats of Nabawan and Sook is close to Indonesia’s Kalimantan border and it still lags in infrastructure and development, according to Radin.

He urged Kurup to put the interest of Pensiangan and Barisan above everything else.

Yesterday, Kurup told Radin to stay away from the issues raised by Pairin, the Deputy Chief Minister cum Rural Development Minister.

“Gentlemanly Datuk Pairin should not hide behind his Secretary-General when faced with a situation which was raised by him in the first instance. I do not want to be engaged in debates over the matter in the media with Datuk Radin Malleh as it is understood he is merely sheltering his President,” he said in a statement.

Kurup challenged Pairin to a face to face debate on the issues that have been raised, namely Pairin’s statement on the candidacy and its implications; the meaning and the contents of “colorful and well documented history” and Pairin’s performance as a two-term MP for Pensiangan.