Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Joseph Pairin Kitingan has pledged to continue to support Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi despite calls, including from former Prime Minister Tun Mahathir Mohamad, for the latter to step down following the Barisan Nasional’s (BN) worst ever performance in Saturday’s 12th General Election. Pairin in expressing his support for Abdullah, said BN did not manage to secure as much votes as it hoped for but what is important is that the people and the party, despite the negative results, have to focus on the real thing in the context of what democracy is all about. He said he did not know of any calls for the Prime Minister to step down but he appreciated that BN had gone through the necessary process in the election and despite the shocking results, it still got the majority to form the Government. “What we have got is more than enough to form the Government and govern the country.“As the President of Parti Bersatu Sabah which is a component party of BN, I fully support the continuation of the BN Government under the leadership of Pak Lah,” he said to reporters at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport before leaving for Kuala Lumpur yesterday. “There are still many development programmes which need to be implemented or still in the process of being implemented. And we also have the Development Corridor programme that needs to be implemented,” he said. He said we must give the necessary support to ensure that the BN Government can go ahead and continue implementing its programmes to ensure the objective is achieved. “As for me, I have no problem in giving my full support to Pak Lah to continue as the Prime Minister,” he said. Asked if Sabah and Sarawak would be playing a more important role in the Parliament following the shift of quite a number parliamentary seats from BN to opposition in Peninsular Malaysia, he said both states have retained the required number of seats which will help strengthen the formation of the Federal Government and to continue the solid foundation of the BN Government. “By mentioning that we are the anchor team, I think it is a matter of description of the purpose we like to convey, If we will have a good influence arising from this, and for the good of Sabah and Sarawak, of course. I think it is only fair to speak on behalf of Sabah and Sarawak and also on behalf of the BN Government,” he said. Commenting on the PBS’ failure to retain Kota Kinabalu parliamentary and Sri Tanjong state seats, he said there are a number of factors that need to be looked into as to why the seats were lost and the party will conduct the necessary post-mortem. He said people may have their personal views as to why the opposition managed to wrest the seats from BN and comments, feedback and thoughts on the matter must be thoroughly investigated. Pairin seemingly suggested that the loss of the two seats was partly due to lack of support from certain BN component parties to the PBS candidates fielded to contest for the seats. “As I said very clearly in Kota Kinabalu before, if everybody works hand in hand, if every component party supports the chosen candidates, there is no reason why the candidates should lose,” he said.