KOTA KINABALU: Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) president Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan has confirmed his intention to run in the 13th general election, quashing rumours of his early retirement.
Speaking to reporters after attending the Shell Traffic Educational programme here yesterday, the state's long-serving assemblyman said the plan was to defend both his Keningau parliamentary seat and Tambunan state seat.
Pairin, 72, who is also Sabah's deputy chief minister, said he planned to retire by the 14th general election.
"How do they know? You should quote what I said also -- that I am ready to contest," Pairin said of various online news quoting party insiders who claimed that he would be slowing down in the coming election.
A Free Malaysia Today article yesterday claimed that Pairin would not contest the larger Keningau seat, which covers three state constituencies, but that he was still keen to be renominated as Tambunan assemblyman.
The Huguan Siou, or paramount leader of the Kadazandusun community, was also said to be concerned about a possible negative impact on morale within PBS if he withdrew from the state political scene.
"I will retire, but not for this election.
"What I have planned and what I've discussed with my colleagues, is to contest this coming general election but not in the elections after that. I want to retire in the 14th general election. I hope those people concerned will be happy."
Pairin has been Tambunan state assemblyman for 36 years since 1976 when he first won the seat under a Berjaya ticket. Pairin won and has retained the Keningau seat since 1986.
On the latest progress of the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on illegal immigrants in Sabah, Pairin said the state government thankful that the letters of appointment were finally presented to the RCI panel members in Putrajaya yesterday.