(Free Malaysia Today) – All’s well on the eastern front. The so-called rebellion in Parti Keadilan Rakyat, led by vice president Dr Jeffrey Kitingan and Sabah Wanita head Christina Liew, has been defused.
PKR supremo Anwar Ibrahim stepped in to patch up differences between factions in Sabah, which saw the group led by Jeffrey and Liew threatening to break away from peninsula control.
Both quit their party post in October but remained as PKR members although some of their supporters rushed into forming a new party a fortnight ago. But the supporters backed off last week when they realised that Jeffrey and Liew were cold towards the registration of Parti Cinta Sabah.
Behind the scene initiatives have ensured that PKR remain intact in Sabah, a state that the Umno-led Barisan Nasional (BN) regards as its “fixed deposit.”
Attempts by Parti Bersatu Sabah to lure Jeffrey out of Pakatan failed, with Jeffrey saying he had burned his bridges with Barisan parties.
What Anwar did was to appoint Jeffrey as the vice-president in charge of Sabah and Sarawak and Liew as a deputy to Thamrin Jaini, who became the party’s Sabah head two months ago.
Anwar has kept intact the top state line up by making three state deputies–Kong Hong Ming, John Ghani and Awang Tengah Awang Amin–vice-chairpersons of the Sabah chapter.
The decision to put Jeffrey in charge of drawing up a master plan to develop Sabah and Sarawak and leading preparations there for the next general election is seen as a master stroke that would prevent confrontations within the opposition ranks.