GE14 | Incumbent Tambunan state assemblyperson and caretaker Sabah deputy chief minister Joseph Pairin Kitingan smiled sheepishly as he admitted that he had, indeed, planned to retire from politics.
But here he is once again contesting for the eleventh time for the seat of Tambunan, a seat he has held since 1976.
This time around, however, Pairin, who is also the huguan siou (paramount leader) of the Kadazandusun Murut community is defending the seat against his own brother, Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (Star) president Jeffrey Kitingan, brother-in-law Justin Alip from Parti Warisan Sabah and Parti Cinta Sabah's Nestor Joannes.
"Earlier, of course, I wanted to retire but I had to respond since there was a need," Pairin told Malaysiakini.
"I’m still at the forefront. Fortunately or unfortunately, I'm still the huguan siou, I cannot just shove away my responsibilities. I don’t want to abandon the people just like that."
Given the chance to represent Tambunan again, the Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) founder and president promised to work as hard as he can for the people and the state.
"I don’t think age is my barrier. The more the people support me, the more I am energised to represent them.
"I know I cannot be there forever but while given the mandate, I will work very hard for the people.
"I hope this time around I’ll be given a bigger mandate so that I can speak with a stronger voice for the benefit of the people," said Pairin.
Pairin finally decided to defend Tambunan following the request by the top BN leadership, despite having expressed his intention to retire on several occasions previously....