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Mini crisis in Sabah as Perak resignation crisis unfolds - malaysiakini

Malaysiakini's report:

Pensiangan MP Joseph Kurup, who had his parliamentary seat taken away on Sept 8 last year by an election court, will no longer demand that he be the “automatic” BN candidate in a by-election widely expected soon.

The Sabah leader has appealed against the court verdict on Sept 11 and will be expecting a decision next Friday.

“It is for the BN leadership to decide (on the candidate) should there be a by-election,” said Kurup, also the Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (PBRS) president and federal deputy minister for rural and national development.

“It is still too early to talk about a by-election especially since the appeal to the Federal Court is still pending.”

bn supreme council mt meeting sapp sabah issue 190608 joseph kurupKurup spoke to the media on the sidelines of a PBRS convention yesterday in Kota Kinabalu after telling the delegates that “we (PBRS) no longer want to be used (by BN) and that “there’s something wrong with BN”.

He also blamed the attitude of BN leaders, their approach in addressing the people’s plight, corruption and other issues such as religion for the ruling coalition’s failure to win a two-thirds majority during the general election in March last year.

BN also lost five states and the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur to the opposition alliance and has since suffered two successive by-election defeats - in Permatang Pauh and Kuala Terengganu.

Kurup was initially coy when asked whether he would defend his Murut-dominated Pensiangan seat in the event of a by-election and went on to add: “Don’t know yet. Wait till my court case is over. Too early to say, we will wait and see (what happens).”

He conceded that other BN component parties were also vying for the Pensiangan seat with Umno being the latest after former Pensiangan MP Bernard Maarat, formerly with PBRS and now with PBS, told the media that he could win the seat for the coalition.

There’s talk that PBS could “loan” Maarat as a candidate to PBRS or that Umno may have another candidate in mind, also a local Murut, for “loan” to PBRS. Kurup is neither a Murut nor a local, apparently a sore point with Pensiangan voters.

“We are already on the ground, spreading the vision and mission to bring the people, especially those in the interior, out of poverty,” claimed Kurup subtly underlining his credentials for the seat.

“Everywhere I go in Pensiangan, people tell me that they want development and they realise that only BN can provide that to them. I have already outlined what we can do to bring them out of poverty.”

Ex-defector: Anti-hopping law ‘not suitable for now’

On the proposed anti-hop law, Kurup pointed out that “the BN did not have the necessary two-thirds majority to amend the federal constitution” and that “the proposal was not suitable for now”.

“What both the BN and opposition should do was for them not to accept people who wanted to cross over,” advised Kurup.

The media had been particularly interested in Kurup’s take on the anti-hop law since he left with six other state assemblymen in 1994 for BN to bring about the downfall of the Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) government within a month of the state elections.

Meanwhile, Kurup’s dramatic turnaround on Pensiangan, where he claimed proprietary rights, was in sharp contrast to his belligerent remarks in recent days against his former mentor, PBS president Joseph Pairin Kitingan, after the latter opined that there was no automatic candidate for Pensiangan.

bn supreme council mt meeting sapp sabah issue 190608 pairin kitinganPairin had warned that BN could only win in Pensiangan with the full cooperation of all component parties.

Kurup, in turn retaliated and challenged Pairin to a public debate on the latter’s record of public service and his “colourful and well-documented history”, an apparent reference to the PBS pull-out from BN nearly two decades ago on the eve of the 1990 general election.

Kurup, at that time, was PBS deputy president.

He threw a fit in the media when PBS secretary-general Raden Malleh advised him against considering himself as a candidate for Pensiangan on the BN ticket and reminded him to “think of the fate of the coalition and the people, and not just of himself”.

Other critics pointed out that Kurup had to “flee for dear life” after winning the seat “unopposed” on the grounds that challenger Danny Anthony Andipai of PKR had filed his nomination papers “three minutes late”.

Soon after, Kurup suffered a punch in the face from an irate voter as the other assembled villagers turned hostile, before he could get away.

BN secretary-general Karim Bujang, in a rare step, rebuked both men in public, prompting Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman to step in and ask “the two quarrelling Josephs” to take their differences behind closed doors.

He blamed the increased temperature on Pensiangan on the media.

By-election could be as early as February

If a by-election is called in Persiangan, it could held as early as this month.

March and April are not considered suitable months for the by-election considering the Umno party elections and “the transition of power” from outgoing Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to his deputy, Najib Razak.

pensiangan sabah parliament seat 080908The Federal Court has six months from Sept 11 - until March 11 - to decide on the Pensiangan case.

A verdict was expected earlier last month but was allegedly delayed because of the recent Kuala Terengganu.

A by-election, if there is going to be one, has to be held within 60 days. If it is not in February, then it is likely to be held in May.

Meanwhile, Kurup who continues as Pensiangan MP and as a federal deputy minister, has been accused by the opposition and his other critics of neglecting his job in Kuala Lumpur and camping out in his constituency to hand out “zinc sheets and other development aid”.

Maarat, has since pointed out that this kind of politicking will no longer work. He is more worried that projects promised in the area under the Sabah Development Corridor has not materialised and this may work in the opposition’s favour.

He was denied the chance to defend his Pensiangan seat last March 8 when Kurup decided that he wanted the seat for himself but told the media that Maarat “had not been performing in the seat”.

Maarat subsequently left PBRS and joined PBS where he has been appointed the chairman of Sandakan Sawit Palm Oil Industrial Cluster -