KOTA KINABALU, Jan 3 ― Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) will not contest in the Kimanis by-election and will “most likely” throw its support behind the Barisan Nasional (BN) Umno candidate.
PBS president Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili said that after studying sentiments, his party was yielding to Umno so as not to split the opposition vote.
“The decision is also to support the view among the Opposition parties that we should avoid a split of votes among our supporters, otherwise it would give advantage to the ruling government coalition,” said Ongkili after chairing the party political bureau meeting at the PBS headquarters.
Ongkili said that they will support the Opposition over the government, but stopped short of endorsing BN candidate, Datuk Mohamad Alamin.
“From what we have seen he meets some of our criteria but it remains to be seen whether he meets all of them.
“We will publicly express our political support to the right candidate after nomination day.
“In the event of a straight fight, we will support BN candidate, that is clear,” said Ongkili, although he later qualified that the party could also support an independent candidate should they meet their criteria.
He said the main criteria was for the candidate to be a vocal defender of Sabah’s rights under the Malaysia Agreement 1963, the state’s security against illegal immigrants and intruders, and opposed to policies and programmes that compromise Sabahan rights.
“Specifically, PBS will only support an election candidate that will reject outright the government’s proposal to implement the Sabah Temporary Pass,” he said.
Ongkili said that the party’s 3,000 active members from 60 branches in the Membakut and Bongawan division could be kingmakers in the largely Muslim Bumiputera Kimanis constituency.
“We will start moving our machinery on Monday,” he said.
Nomination for the by-election is tomorrow and polling on January 18.