Information on Kitingan Family
Dr. Jeffrey Gapari Kitingan is the other
famous brother who made headlines nationwide when he was arrested under the
Internal Security Act in 1990 for
‘plotting to take Sabah out of Malaysia’ along with several others. Prior to
that he had grabbed headlines in the state for his work in the public service
especially in the revamping of the State administration. He also won friends and
enemies by speaking out against Datuk Harris on his car pool system.
Jeffrey did his tertiary education in Perth Australia, returning to Sabah in
1975 with a much needed degree in Public Administration. He quickly climbed the
public service ladder and initiated a number of administrative changes in the
public service. After his confrontation with Harris, he left for the US to study
at Harvard University to get his PhD and returned in 1984. He was appointed as
General Manager in the Yayasan Sabah administration and became director in 1985.
The rest, as they say, is history. He became the YS director and CEO of
Innoprise Corporation. He was responsible for many of the Yayasan Sabah/Innoprise
Corporation's successes in the late 80s and early 90s and for starting the
People Development programme. He was also a key factor in
PBS strategies and finance. His
many ideas and nationalistic tendencies caught the eye of the Federal Government
who was worried that these, especially his outspoken views on the “20 points
Malaysia Agreement” could threaten the
national security as he had awoken nationalism in the Kadazan Dusun.
He had been targeted for arrest for over a year and was finally arraigned
in 1990 and detained for 30 months under the ISA. Upon his release and
return to Sabah in 1993, he was accorded a hero’s welcome by the people
convinced his elder brother Datuk Pairin to include him as a PBS candidate in
the 1994 state election, a decision which has probably haunted Datuk Pairin ever
since. What he did after PBS won a wafer thin majority in that election and
subsequent actions indicated that his detention under ISA had a profound effect
on his very thought processes. He still displayed his mettle for quick decisions
in response to prevailing information which is one of the good qualities of
a CEO running a corporation, but is less suited to
political scenarios, where the many varied factors are so fluid and not
so controllable. Because of his relative inexperience in politics, he made
several political blunders which erased his good record in people’s mind as
the possible replacement for Datuk
Pairin as the Sabah Leader. After the 1994 election, there was a lot of
political maneuvering. When it became clear that PBS was going to lose its
majority in the state assembly, Dr. Jeffrey was persuaded to join PBRS which had
no Assembly representative and gave a rather thoughtless speech about abandoning
a sinking ship, only to rebuff that party in favour of
forming his own, which he failed to register after several months.
Eventually, he was persuaded to join Akar, a BN component party which was about
to be deregistered, but his joining the party brought it back to headlines in
the local newspapers. His presence there was not smooth sailing either, as there
was a tussle between him and Datuk Pandikar Amin for control of the party and he
left eventually with his supporters. After a while of being an independent, he
rejoined PBS in 1998 and was again fielded as a candidate in the 1999 election,
which he won. As mentioned earlier, he left PBS again later to rejoin BN through
We could say that as a corporate leader, Dr. Jeffrey had been very successful and probably would have been a successful politician if circumstances had been different. Of course there is not much we can do about these circumstances and as a brother you would like to see him succeed, just like Datuk Pairin. Of course you would be affected by all that has happened and feel the pain of both brothers. We have been very lucky that as a family we have always been very close and tightly knit and the political differences have not diminished our family closeness. When it comes to family, political rivalries take a back seat, and we do not discuss politics at home when we meet in our family meetings, which is very often.
a brother, Dr. Jeffrey is also a warm and easy going person, and due to his
younger age, is quite close to his younger siblings. He is very active and is
always on the move and in my view can develop very close rapport with the people
he deals with. He has a different
approach to people, being endeared to his many supporters because of his
generosity and his invaluable advise and inputs in many of their dealings. In a
way, we all feel that we would have been much better off had he concentrated on
his business. Dr. Jeffrey is married to Datin Susan and he has 5 children.
The older two have finished their education. Jayson, the eldest son was employed by Chase Perdana Bhd for about a year before he left for another company involved in marketing. The second eldest son, Jonathan is very much into computers and was working in one of Microsoft's associate companies for a while. The third son attends school at Seri Insan.
The PBRS debacle: see separate story.
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