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Friday, June 01, 2001

Warming of BN-PBS relations sparks talk

KOTA KINABALU: A warming of relations through culture between Barisan Nasional and Parti Bersatu Sabah is sparking fresh talk that the opposition party might return to the coalition's fold.

However, both Barisan and PBS leaders played down speculation that the Pesta Kaamatan celebration was being used to soften the ground for future discussions on PBS rejoining Barisan.

This year's Kaamatan celebration saw an interaction for the first time in seven years between state Barisan leader and Chief Minister Datuk Chong Kah Kiat and PBS president Datuk Joseph Pairin Kitingan, who is the Kadazandusun Huguan Siou (Paramount Leader).

Apart from the attendance of leaders from both sides of the political spectrum at these festivities, the state Barisan government had, earlier this month, allowed an opposition motion to set up an all-party house committee to tackle the problem of illegal immigrants in Sabah.

Courtesy of The Star
POLITICS ASIDE ... Pairin (right) greeting Abdullah during the state-level Kaamatan celebration in Penampang Thursday.

Asked if the warming of relations between Barisan and PBS was a sign of PBS re-entering Barisan, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said: "You are moving it two to three steps ahead."

Abdullah said he was happy to see Pairin among the local leaders joining in the government-sponsored harvest festival.

He brushed off political speculation, saying: "When I came here, I was not thinking of politics. I am here to meet old friends and join the celebration."

Pairin's deputy Dr Maximus Ongkili also dismissed such speculation, saying:

"We have always been consistent in our political stand. We are in the opposition and we will play that role."

Source: The Star

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Friday, June 01, 2001

  • Warming of BN-PBS relations sparks talk
  • Closing ranks in spirit of Kaamatan
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