Saturday, 6 March 2010

Kalakau - BN loss, PKR gains

KOTA KINABALU: Popular Sabah Dusun leader Datuk Kalakau Untol will be unveiled in the
coming days as the latest Barisan Nasional heavyweight to join PKR, bringing with him vast experience and the Dusun support for the party.
Kalakau, a former deputy labour minister in the BN-held state government, had resigned
from the ruling coalition and from all his posts in government-related agencies on Feb 18.

Immediately after his resignation, he had said that he would be focusing on supporting the policies of PKR but did not reveal any immediate plans to join any of the Pakatan parties.

"However, he has decided that he wants to join PKR. He will be officially unveiled as a new PKR man next week in Kuala Lumpur," a party insider told FMT.

"Kalakau's decision to join PKR is also due to his belief in PKR vice-president Datuk Jeffrey Kitingan as someone who can help change the situation in Sabah," added the insider who requested anonymity as the news of the new arrival has not been officially released yet.

Kalakau had submitted his membership form to party adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in gathjering in his village in Tuaran last Sunday.

PKR leaders believe that Kalakau, 55, is a good catch for the party, given the latter's strong standing among the Dusun people. He is currently the president of United Sabah Dusun Association.

"While PKR is hit by the resignations of three elected representatives in the peninsula, the timing of Kalakau's entry into the party in Sabah, which is long considered BN-safe deposit state, is perfect," added the party insider.

The Dusun swing

Until his resignation from BN, Kalakau was the chairman of Superpanel (Sabah) Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary company of the Sabah Housing and Town Development Authority, and a member of the Sabah Economic Development Corporation board of directors.

He had served as deputy labour minister from 1986 to 1990 and was United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (Upko) Youth chief for 12 years from 1985.

Upon his resignation, former senator Kalakau claimed that state and federal leaders had appeared uncommitted in defending the state's rights.

Kalakau is expected to work closely with Jeffrey in consolidating the Kadazandusun support, especially among the Dusun voters, in the state for PKR. The Dusun voters are in a position to swing the votes in many seats in the state.

"The Dusuns are an important group of people who have long been marginalised by the BN. With Kalakau in PKR, they will have a strong voice in the party to represent their interests," added the party insider.

Kalakau joins a long line of ex-BN leaders to have joined PKR, among whom include Jeffrey, former Umno leader and cabinet member Datuk Zaid Ibrahim and former MCA deputy president Datuk Chua Jui Ming.

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