(The Daily Express) - Opposition Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) is concerned over the possibility of its leaders here ditching the party to join the Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP).
In response, Vice-President Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan appealed to the party members here that both PKR and the SAPP - which has pulled out of the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition - have a similar mission and vision.
Rumours of disunity among State PKR leaders are said to be behind the leaders and members in Tenom wanting to leave.
It was reported that SAPP President Datuk Yong Teck Lee is due to officiate at a ceremony to welcome the PKR members at a hotel here.
However, Jeffrey said the "splinters" must think of the foundation of their struggle for the people over the long term.
He said party leaders and members are aware that the State Liaison Committee would be restructured soon.
Lawyer Ansari Abdullah had relinquished his State PKR chief position and the party headquarters had yet to name a replacement.
There is speculation that Ansari's move is due to Jeffrey's supporters wanting him (Dr Jeffrey) to contest in a possible parliamentary by-poll following the Election Court's nullification of PBRS' Tan Sri Joseph Kurup's canididacy.
Ansari is believed to favour Anthony Andipai for the candidacy if a by-poll is held.
However, it is also believed that the PKR leaders here are in favour of SAPP because it is a Sabah-based party and because PKR does not have an office here.
According to Dr Jeffrey, the soon-to-be appointed State PKR Chairman is being scrutinised on his suitability and that should everything else fail, the second choice would be the national PKR adviser.
Dr Jeffrey said cooperation between the two entities must be forged and strengthened to achieve the Pakatan Rakyat mission of change in Sabah.
He urged the PKR leaders here not to be hasty in deciding to leave the party.
"The party still needs the commitment of the leaders, irrespective of levels, to attain the objective of the people's struggles in Sabah as enshrined in the Tambunan Declaration," he said.
He was commenting on a report that several PKR leaders and members in Tenom are contemplating quitting the party to join SAPP.
He said patience and loyalty in a struggle are among the tests that the leaders must go through in order to accomplish their mission which is to uphold justice and defend the rights of the people.
Jeffrey said the political scenario in the country has changed from the situation in the 1960s and 1970s where the focus was more towards the State's internal affairs.
"That struggle did not last long because it was too narrow where all the problems raised by the rakyat never reached national level to be debated," he said.
"I will be calling Tenom PKR divisional chief Jimmy Jawatah to get his explanation before settling the problem," he said.