Joseph Pairin Kitingan

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Yang Berhormat Tan Sri Datuk Seri Panglima
Joseph Pairin Kitingan
Penampang Sabah Joseph-Pairin-Kitingan-02.jpg
7th Chief Minister of Sabah
In office
Preceded by Harris Salleh
Succeeded by Sakaran Dandai
Huguan Siou (Paramount Leader)
Kadazandusun Cultural Association (KDCA)
Personal details
Born Joseph Pairin Kitingan
(1940-08-17) 17 August 1940 (age 76)
Papar, North Borneo
Citizenship Malaysian
Political party Parti Bersatu Sabah
Spouse(s) Genevieve Lee
Relations Jeffrey Kitingan (brother)
Children Alexander
Alma mater University of Adelaide
Religion Roman Catholic

Tan Sri Datuk Seri Panglima Joseph Pairin Kitingan (born 17 August 1940) is a Malaysian politician who was the seventh Chief Minister of Sabah, a state in Malaysia, from April 1985 to March 1994. He has been Deputy Chief Minister and Minister of Infrastructure Development of Sabah since March 2004. He is the founder and President of Parti Bersatu Sabah (Sabah United Party).

Pairin was born in Papar. He attended La Salle Secondary School, an all-boys school, located in Kota Kinabalu.[1] He won a Colombo Plan scholarship and went on to read law at the University of Adelaide and upon completing his study, he came back to Sabah to work as a State Counsel with the Sabah Legal Department and was later made Deputy Public Prosecutor. Subsequently, he practised law with a local legal firm.

Joseph Pairin Kitingan is a Catholic, married to Genevieve Lee, a retired teacher. They have two sons, Alexander and Daniel, who are both trained lawyers.[2][3][4][5][6]

His brother Jeffrey Gapari Kitingan is also a politician, a former vice-president of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) after being former member of Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS), Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (PBRS), Parti Angkatan Keadilan Rakyat (AKAR), and United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (UPKO) and finally Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) after the rejection of his application to join United Malays National Organisation (UMNO).

Political career[edit]

Joseph Pairin began his active political career in 1975. He was elected a Member of the Sabah Legislative Assembly for the Tambunan electorate in 1976 under the BERJAYA party ticket, a party which was led by Harris Salleh (Chief Minister 1976–1985) and was appointed as a Minister in the cabinet of the ruling party. Tambunan has become his stronghold ever since.

Over time, Joseph Pairin became disillusioned with the party's leadership, and opposed some of the party's policies. He felt that the party had deviated from its original struggle. He however, remained firm with the party and subsequently, he was forced to leave the ruling party coalition in 1984.


In December 1984, he challenged as an Independent candidate against the ruling party to defend his seat in the Tambunan by-election. His leadership in a state within a federation which had the official religion of Islam, was also questioned because of his religion. Joseph Pairin easily won and defended his seat with significant majority.[citation needed]

In March 1985, Joseph Pairin Kitingan formed Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) or United Sabah Party. Despite overwhelming odds, he succeeded in registering PBS as a political party in the eleventh hour; thus paving the way for the party to contest against the incumbent state government in the Sabah state election, 1985 in April.

Berjaya and the United Sabah National Organisation (USNO) joined forces to win the 1985 election, but after riots by BN followers, the newly formed coalition between Berjaya and USNO was dissolved giving PBS the majority government.[7] Pairin was sworn in as the seventh Chief Minister of the state of Sabah. He held the post of Sabah Chief Minister from April 1985 to March 1994, during which he spearheaded his party's triumphant outings in four successive state elections (1985, 1986, 1990 and 1994).

In the 1994 state election, PBS won the election, however shortly after being announced the winner, almost all PBS assemblymen defected to Barisan Nasional. Pairin was not allowed to be sworn in as Chief Minister. Tun Sakaran Dandai of UMNO was then sworn to be the eighth Chief Minister of Sabah.[8]

On 6 June 2015, Pairin asserted a "clear connection of the incident to the 2015 Sabah earthquake that has brought about so much damage and loss of lives" by a group of European nude tourists on Mount Kinabulu [9]

Pairin is also the Huguan Siou or Paramount Leader of the Kadazandusun community for being the President of the Kadazandusun Cultural Association (KDCA), the community's principal cultural association. However, there is a growing concern that Pairin is no longer suitable to hold the Huguan Siou title and that he should give way to the younger generation. [10]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Past Presidents". Association of Ex-students of La Salle and Sacred Heart. Retrieved 22 January 2008. 
  2. ^ Keat Gin Ooi; Gin (2010). The A to Z of Malaysia. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 156–. ISBN 978-0-8108-7641-5. 
  3. ^ Charles de Ledesma; Mark Lewis; Pauline Savage (2003). Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei. Rough Guides. pp. 507–. ISBN 978-1-84353-094-7. 
  4. ^ Shanti Nair (11 January 2013). Islam in Malaysian Foreign Policy. Routledge. pp. 161–. ISBN 978-1-134-96099-6. 
  5. ^ Jeffrey A. McNeely; Paul Spencer Sochaczewski (1991). Soul of the Tiger: Searching for Nature's Answers in Southeast Asia. University of Hawaii Press. pp. 287–. ISBN 978-0-8248-1669-8. 
  6. ^ Fausto Barlocco (4 December 2013). Identity and the State in Malaysia. Taylor & Francis. pp. 84–. ISBN 978-1-317-93238-3. 
  7. ^ K. Ramanathan Kalimuthu. "The Sabah State Elections of April 1985". Asian Survey, Vol. 26, No. 7. Retrieved 18 January 2008. 
  8. ^ Kalimullah Hassan (18 November 2007). "OPINION: Reforms yes, but not through violence in the streets". New Straits Times. Archived from the original on 21 December 2007. Retrieved 18 January 2008. 
  9. ^ Julia Chan (6 June 2015). "Pairin: Naked tourist brought on mountain's wrath". Malay Mail Online. Retrieved 9 June 2015. 
  10. ^ "Pairin Should cease from becoming Huguan Siou". BP. 
Preceded by
Harris Salleh
Chief Minister of Sabah
Succeeded by
Sakaran Dandai