An air of uneasiness is being felt among Sabah PKR leaders as word spread that former federal minister Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak has applied to join the party.
Salleh, who has been left in the lurch politically after he quit Umno in December last year, has confirmed applying to join PKR.
But both allies and foes within Sabah PKR are concerned about the possibility of former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s “henchman” coming on board.
Sabah PKR chairman Datuk Christina Liew, who is Deputy Chief Minister, has not said much on Salleh’s application to join the party other than “we are looking into it”.
But Liew’s opponents within the party have raised their worries privately over Salleh’s bid to become a party member.
“Most leaders are concerned about Salleh joining the party.
“His background does not augur well for us, ” said a party insider, who pointed out that Sabah PKR has seen many leadership crises in the past and Salleh could create a fresh problem.
Salleh, who left Sabah Umno during last year’s exodus, was rejected by Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia which officially spread its wings to Sabah in April.
On Sept 17, Salleh, who is United Sabah Bajau Organisation (USBO) adviser, pledged his support for PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to take over the reins from Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
However, both Salleh and USBO president Tan Sri Pandikar Amin (former Dewan Rakyat Speaker) denied that they were joining PKR during a Malaysia Day event in Kota Belud.
Salleh, who lost his family’s stronghold in Kota Belud in the last elections to a little-known Parti Warisan Sabah candidate, said he wanted to help PKR champion progressive politics to ensure stability and moderation especially in Sabah.
“I believe PKR is on the right track to save the nation from extremism, especially at a time when communal politics threaten unity and the nation’s stability, ” Salleh said in a blog post on Saturday.
“I believe I am taking the right step and I can contribute towards Malaysia and Sabah’s stability and prosperity with PKR, ” said Salleh, who was Sabah chief minister (1995-1996) and a Cabinet minister during Najib’s time.