Datuk Peter Anthony’s departure from Parti Warisan Sabah (Warisan) was expected given his court cases, said party president Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal.
He said the former vice president had expressed his wish to do so several times since he was charged in court, but that he was nevertheless sad Peter and another assemblyman left the party.
“I sympathise because he (Peter) has already expressed his intentions several times following the court case he is facing.
Shafie also said Peter, the Melalap assemblyman who announced that he will set up another multi-racial party in collaboration with Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS), will only further divide the people of Sabah and the community in the interior.
“In a press conference, Peter said a state should be governed by local political parties according to their respective states.
“However, this contradicts his move to join the GRS which consists of national parties and local parties,” he said.
Shafie also denied Peter’s claim that Warisan has strayed far from the original struggle when it expanded to Peninsular Malaysia.
“Since its inception, Warisan has been vocal in fighting for the rights of Sabah and Sarawak enshrined in the 1963 Malaysia Agreement until the recent amendment to the Constitution to restore its status as an ally of the Peninsula.
“The reason for leaving the party because Warisan strayed from the original struggle just because it spread its wings to the Peninsula, is untrue.
“This is because, at the previous Supreme Council meeting and the Heritage Party (2020) Annual General Assembly on December 12, all members of the supreme council and party members fully supported the move at the rally.
“The decision to expand Warisan to the Peninsula is a move to offer another option to all voters in Malaysia,” he said.
Yesterday, Peter and Juil announced their decision to leave the party, saying they will set up a new party supporting GRS, which is led by Perikatan Nasional.
In the state election last year, Warisan and Pakatan Harapan only won 32 seats compared to GRS that won 38.
Warisan has already lost three state seats after the departures of Datuk Mohamaddin Ketapi (Segama), Hassan A. Gani Pg Amir (Sebatik), and Yusof Yacob (Sindumin).
Both Mohamadin and Hassan joined Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) to support Hajiji while Yusof remained an independent asemblyman friendly with Peter is also facing charges of using false documents relating to a system maintenance contract seven years ago and was ordered by the Kuala Lumpur sessions court earlier this month to enter his defence.