Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan
KOTA KINABALU: Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (STAR), which celebrates its 5th anniversary at its headquarters here today, pledged to continue fighting for Sabah’s rights.
STAR President Datuk Seri Dr Jeffrey Kitingan said in his speech that although STAR is only five years old, the struggle has been ongoing for more than three decades, dating back to when he was a political activist in the 1990s.
“I overcame numerous hardships including being imprisoned but I never faltered. I joined several political parties, but none of them were able to fulfil my aspirations. It never occurred to me at the time to start my own party. I didn’t want to do it.
“However, after a while, I realised that starting my own party was the only way I could continue my struggle, and thus, STAR was born in 2016. STAR will never abandon its philosophy despite being part of the Sabah government now.
“We will continue to fight for Sabah rights and demand that the federal government return the rights that they have taken away from us under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63),” he said.
In terms of the party’s strategy, the STAR president said he wants the party to be present in all 73 constituencies to ensure its political ideology reaches every corners of the region. Currently, STAR is present in 64 constituencies.
Kitingan also encouraged the younger generation to consider STAR as their political platform and urged the party’s current leaders to start recruiting and engaging youths to ensure they understand their roles as voters once they reach the age of 18.
“We should reach out to youths aged 15 and up. These are the people who will lead us in the future. I will not be here forever, but I am glad we have so many young leaders among us. They will hopefully continue the struggle,” he said.
Kitingan said the party intends to contest as many seats as possible in the upcoming General Election (GE) rather than just 8 or 9 seats as previously stated.
“Realistically, it is difficult to say because the political scenario is different today. Anything can happen,” he said.
Commenting on the party’s role in the Sabah State Government, Kitingan said STAR is pleased to be part of the Government and that, with the good relationship between all GRS members, Sabah’s future looks brighter than ever.
He for one said he has many ideas for Sabah which he has discussed with the Chief Minister.
“I have high hopes that these ideas will be accepted and Sabah will be able to strengthen its own resources, so that we don’t have to rely on the Federal Government for our development.
“In fact, we already have something in the pipeline, which will be announced in January of next year. We can’t rush it due to MCO, unfortuantely. But rest assured, once this announcement is made, Sabahans will be pleased,” he said.