Joseph Pairin Kitingan

Tan Sri Datuk Seri Panglima Joseph Pairin Kitingan (born 17 August 1940) is a Malaysian politician who was the 7th Chief Minister of Sabah from April 1985 to March 1994. He has been Deputy Chief Minister and Minister of Infrastructure Development since March 2004. He is the founding President of United Sabah Party (PBS).

Joseph Pairin Kitingan

Penampang Sabah Joseph-Pairin-Kitingan-02.jpg
7th Chief Minister of Sabah
In office
22 April 1985 – 17 March 1994
GovernorMohamad Adnan Robert
Mohammad Said Keruak
Preceded byHarris Salleh
Succeeded bySakaran Dandai
Member of the Malaysian Parliament
for Keningau
In office
3 August 1986 – 9 May 2018
Preceded byAhmad Shah Hussein Tambakau
Succeeded byJeffrey Kitingan
Huguan Siou
of the Kadazandusun Cultural Association (KDCA)
Personal details
Joseph Pairin Kitingan

(1940-08-17) 17 August 1940 (age 80)
Papar, North Borneo (now Sabah, Malaysia)
Political partySabah People's United Front (BERJAYA) (1976–1984)
United Sabah Party (PBS) (1985–)
Other political
Perikatan Nasional (PN) (2020-)
Gabungan Bersatu Sabah (GBS) (2018-)
Barisan Nasional (BN) (1986–1990, 2002–2018)
Gagasan Rakyat (GR) (1990-1996)
Spouse(s)Genevieve Lee
RelationsJeffrey Kitingan (brother)
Maximus Ongkili (nephew)
Alma materUniversity of Adelaide

Personal lifeEdit

Pairin was born in Papar but his hometown is in the interior district of Tambunan. 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. Pairin 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), Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), State Reform Party (STAR Sarawak) and finally heading his own party of Homeland Solidarity Party (STAR Sabah). Jeffrey also previously intended to join the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), but his application were rejected.

Political careerEdit

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 Sabah People's United Front (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, 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. Pairin easily won and defended his seat with significant majority.[citation needed]

In March 1985, Pairin formed Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS). 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 1985 Sabah state election in April.

PBS won a majority of 25 out of the 48 seats contested in the 1985 state elections. However, BERJAYA and the United Sabah National Organisation (USNO) joined forces submit their candidate as the chief minister, 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 Kinabalu [9]

Pairin is also the Huguan Siou or Paramount Leader of the Kadazan-Dusun 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]


Honours of MalaysiaEdit

Election resultsEdit

Parliament of Malaysia[12]
Year Constituency Votes Pct Opponent(s) Votes Pct Ballots cast Majority Turnout
1986 P180 Keningau, Sabah Joseph Pairin Kitingan (PBS)
1990 Joseph Pairin Kitingan (PBS)
1995 Joseph Pairin Kitingan (PBS) 17,510 66.71% Ellron Alfred Angin (PBRS) 8,736 33.29% 26,539 8,774 73.11%
1999 Joseph Pairin Kitingan (PBS) 12,783 50.49% Joseph Kurup (PBRS) 12,533 49.51% 25,598 250 64.05%
2004 Joseph Pairin Kitingan (PBS)
2008 Joseph Pairin Kitingan (PBS) 14,598 57.27% Jeffrey Kitingan (PKR) 10,334 40.53% 25,956 4,264 72.96%
Peter Kodou (DAP) 560 2.20%
2013 Joseph Pairin Kitingan (PBS) 15,818 44.50% Jeffrey Kitingan (STAR) 11,900 33.48% 36,098 3,918 82.73%
Stephen Sandor (PKR) 7,825 22.02%
Sabah State Legislative Assembly[13]
Year Constituency Votes Pct Opponent(s) Votes Pct Ballots cast Majority Turnout
1986 N24 Tambunan, P142 Keningau Joseph Pairin Kitingan (PBS) 4,752 86.88% Bernard Wong Chung Ngin (USNO) 499 9.12% 5,515 4,253 81.41%
Albertus Ongkudon (BERJAYA) 219 4.00%
1990 Joseph Pairin Kitingan (PBS) 5,516 90.97% Aling Amon (USNO) 239 3.94% 6,128 5,277 84.68%
Juanis Yajuni ALS Joannes Aju (AKAR) 145 2.39%
Joseph Jouti Ajun (PRS) 96 1.58%
Norbert Angkangon (BERJAYA) 62 1.02%
Edmund Otigil (IND) 6 0.10%
1994 N24 Tambunan, P155 Sipitang Joseph Pairin Kitingan (PBS) 6,265 89.46% Martin Yong (PBRS) 569 8.13% 7,047 5,696 86.43%
Jouti Ajun (IND) 169 2.41%
1999 N27 Tambunan, P157 Keningau Joseph Pairin Kitingan (PBS) 6,791 73.68% Petrus Gurinting (PBRS) 2,116 22.96% 9,322 4,675 92.43%
Joseph Ajun (BERSEKUTU) 169 1.83%
Juili Matimbun (SETIA) 141 1.53%
2004 N32 Tambunan, P180 Keningau Joseph Pairin Kitingan (PBS) 5,297 72.42% Nestor Joannes (IND) 2,017 27.58% 7,395 3,280 70.48%
2008 Joseph Pairin Kitingan (PBS) 5,601 65.29% Moses Micheal Iking (PKR) 2,820 32.88% 8,694 2,781 77.31%
Francis Koh Kui Tze (IND) 157 1.83%
2013 Joseph Pairin Kitingan (PBS) 5,586 48.61% Nestor Joannes (STAR) 3,507 30.52% 11,683 2,079 85.10%
Wilfred Win Ponil (PKR) 1,744 15.18%
Justin Yonsoding (IND) 591 5.14%
Francis Koh Kui Tze (IND) 63 0.55%
2018 Joseph Pairin Kitingan (PBS) 5,099 38.86% Jeffrey Kitingan (STAR) 6,136 46.78% 13,322 1,037 82.00%
Justin Alip (WARISAN) 1,427 10.88%
Nestor Joannes (PCS) 456 3.48%

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Past Presidents". Association of Ex-students of La Salle and Sacred Heart. Archived from the original on 27 May 2003. 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. JSTOR 2644213. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  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". The Malay Mail. Retrieved 9 June 2015.
  10. ^ Bobohizan (27 September 2015). "Pairin Need to Cease from becoming the Huguan Siou!". Bobohizan Press. Retrieved 18 May 2018.
  11. ^ "Semakan Penerima Darjah Kebesaran, Bintang dan Pingat".
  12. ^ "Keputusan Pilihan Raya Umum Parlimen/Dewan Undangan Negeri". Election Commission of Malaysia. Retrieved 18 May 2018. Percentage figures based on total turnout (including votes for candidates not listed).
  13. ^ "N32 Tambunan". Malaysiakini. Retrieved 30 May 2020.
Preceded by
Harris Salleh
Chief Minister of Sabah
Succeeded by
Sakaran Dandai