Datuk Dr. Jeffrey Gapari Kitingan is a politician from the state of Sabah in Malaysia, and currently a Deputy Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture of Malaysia. He was born in the town of Kota Marudu and graduated from Harvard University (John F. Kennedy School of Government). His brother, Tan Sri Datuk Sri Panglima Joseph Pairin Kitingan, is also a politician and a former Chief Minister of Sabah. Jeffrey has been referred as political "frog" (katak in Malay) for his penchant of party hopping throughout his political career. Jeffrey responded by saying that party hopping has been the common practice in Sabah politics. He defended himself that he switch parties in order to find the one that is suitable to fight for the rights of the Sabah people.
He is known to be a controversial politician, having been detained without trial under the infamous Internal Security Act by the Barisan Nasional-controlled federal government on suspicion of plotting to secede Sabah from the federation of Malaysia, although his defenders argue that his was a politically motivated move.
He is also known to have switched political parties a number of times. In 1990, he started his political career together with his brother Joseph Pairin Kitingan in Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS). However, after the 1994 state election, he abandoned his brother and PBS to join Parti Angkatan Keadilan Rakyat (AKAR), leading to the downfall of the PBS government in Sabah. He tried to climb to the top post of the AKAR party but failed and rejoined PBS in 1996. However, in 2000, he quit PBS again and joined Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (PBRS), tried to take over the party but failed again. He then quit the PBRS party in 2002 and tried to join United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (UPKO). However, he quickly withdrew his membership application from UPKO and tried to join back PBS again for the third time, but PBS did not welcome him back into the party. In 2003, he applied to join the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) twice: one through UMNO headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, but was rejected. He then applied another membership through UMNO Keningau branch in Sabah using his legal name "Gapari bin Kitingan @ Geoffrey Kitingan" and was mistakenly accepted by UMNO. Jeffrey was able to produce his UMNO membership card. However, once the UMNO supreme council realised their error, they immediately revoked Jeffrey's membership. Jeffrey remained partyless until he was accepted into Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) in 2006 where he became the vice-president of the party. He resigned his vice-president post in 2009 but remained as a party member. In December 2010, Jeffrey founded a NGO named United Borneo Alliance (UBA), which aimed to strive the rights of Sabah and Sarawak in accordance to 20-point agreement and Malaysia Agreement. He finally quit the PKR party in January 2011. In 2012, Jeffrey launched the Sabah chapter of Sarawak based State Reform Party (STAR). In October 2015, he brought his UBA into United Sabah Alliance (USA). In 2016, he brought his Sabah chapter out of the Sarawak-based STAR to establish a Sabah based party named Homeland Solidarity Party (STAR).
In the 2008 general election, he challenged his brother Tan Sri Datuk Seri Panglima Joseph Pairin from BN-PBS at the Keningau parliamentary constituency, but lost. Instead he won the Sabah State Legislative constituency of Bingkor.
2018 state election decision maker and subsequent results
Following the 2018 general election, the BN and the coalition of Pakatan Harapan (PH) with Sabah Heritage Party (WARISAN) are tied up with 29-29 seats in the 2018 Sabah state election. Jeffrey with his party of Homeland Solidarity Party (STAR) under the United Sabah Alliance (USA) which are not aligned from either the two sides, has won two seats in the election and subsequently emerged as the decision maker for the formation of a state government from the two sides. He then decide to team up with the BN to form coalition state government with him appointed as a Deputy Chief Minister while Musa Aman from BN continue to become the Chief Minister for another 5 years under the new coalition government. His decision to maintain the position of BN in Sabah then drew many criticism from Sabahan residents who want to see a change under the administration of a new state government with many began to labelling him as a "traitor" towards the state, especially when he was once a staunch opposition towards BN rule before the election. It is also reported that before the election, Jeffrey has been issue with 7-days bankruptcy notice. Following his sudden decision to work with BN, the Sabah branch of PKR has urged the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to probe the two individuals, citing a “possibility of money changing hands between the two” that could leading to a sudden political partnership. Following the complaint, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has announced that they will not recognise the election in Sabah if corruption involved. Situation also change when six seats assemblymen from the BN allied party of UPKO switched their allegiance to WARISAN, giving the Shafie Apdal party an advantage with 35 seats which sufficient to establish a valid state government. In addition, the Sabah Yang di-Pertua Negeri (TYT) Juhar Mahiruddin also had requested Musa to step down from his position, as Musa current position has contravened the Article 7(1) of the Sabah State Constitution when he lost the total majority state seats. On 14 May 2018, a letter from TYT are being delivered to Musa residence which stating that he is no longer the Chief Minister effective from 12 May 2018.
|1995||Bandau||Jeffrey Kitingan (AKAR)||5,851||35%||Maximus Ongkili (PBS)||10,716||63%|
|2008||Keningau||Joseph Pairin Kitingan (PBS)||14,598||56.2%||Jeffrey Kitingan (PKR)||10,334||39.8%|
|2013||Joseph Pairin Kitingan (PBS)||15,818||43.8%||Jeffrey Kitingan (STAR)||11,900||33.0%|
|2018||Daniel Kinsik (PBS)||12,742||24.9%||Jeffrey Kitingan (STAR)||13,286||26.0%|
|Jake Nointin (WARISAN)||13,241||25.9%|
Table excludes votes for candidates who finished in third place or lower.
Different % used for 2018 election.
- Sabah :