KOTA KINABALU, Sept 22 — After eight years in PKR, vice president Darell Leiking has quit the national opposition party in order to pursue a more state-based struggle.
Leiking accompanied former Umno vice president Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal to the Registrar of Societies (RoS) in Putrajaya earlier today for the latter’s bid to take over an existing Sabah-based party and to set up a new multiracial one.
“We will be working together,” Leiking told Malay Mail Online.
However, Leiking did not specify if he would be joining Shafie’s new party.
Leiking, who is Penampang MP, is PKR’s only federal lawmaker in Sabah.
He said that he had learnt a lot from his time with PKR but that it was the right time to move on to a local opposition platform.
Speaking to Malay Mail Online, he said that the absence of PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who is currently in prison, was felt within the opposition and had hampered the momentum for change that they have been fighting for.
“PKR knows well enough that Sabah has been systematically destroyed, demographically engineered, maligned and abused by corrupt practises of all those within the Barisan Nasional and its stooges in Sabah,” said Leiking.
“As much as there [are] reasons to continue and stay shoulder to shoulder with Keadilan to fight and defeat BN, there is as many other compelling reasons to consider the same political cause through a state-based political platform.”
He said the decision to leave PKR was a heavy-hearted one, but he had sought advice from his circle of friends and family which strengthened his ideals for reform and change with strong Sabahan sentiments.
“After visiting many places within Sabah in the last few months, lengthy dialogues with my wife, children, extended family, church priests, friends and colleagues as well as other Sabahans, I decided that as much as I love PKR, I love Sabah more,” said Leiking.
“This is why I have decided to move forward in my political career with the experience I gained from Keadilan. It is the right thing to do and I am convinced I can only continue my struggle and my cause with a Sabah-based opposition platform.
“I believe Shafie’s influence and experience will be able to make a difference in Sabah’s political landscape,” he added.