KOTA KINABALU, Aug 4 — After Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia’s declared its intention to contest 45 out of the 73 seats in Sabah, Parti Bersatu Sabah said today it is now aiming to contest 30 seats in the upcoming state election.
Party deputy president Datuk Seri Radin Malleh said the party came up with the decision after a thorough analysis on the party’s strength and support in all 73 state constituencies.
"We are only planning to contest in 30 seats because we want to be reasonable, realistic and practical," Radin said after chairing the party’s political bureau meeting.
Radin also hinted that the potential candidates consisted of many new faces, including women.
“We have been quietly working very hard and we are confident we have what it takes to win as many seats in the election,” Radin added.
Radin said being a multi-ethnic party, PBS is capable of winning any seats it contested, be it in a constituency dominated by non-Muslim Bumiputera or Kadazan-Dusun Murut, Muslim Bumiputera, or the ethnic Chinese.
He also said that in areas where PBS is not contesting, it will support candidates from like-minded parties which share a common objective of defeating the “under-performing Warisan-led government.”
Party president Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili, who is said to be recuperating from ailments brought on by exhaustion, has tasked Radin to lead PBS’ preparation for the election.
The election will see PBS using its own symbol after 16 years of contesting under the Barisan Nasional logo.
Formed in 1985, PBS is the longest surviving local political party in Sabah with 61 divisions all over the state, including Labuan, with more than 2,000 active branches.
The party rose to its peak in 1985 to 1994, when it formed the Sabah government under founder Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan.
It was toppled by defections after the 1994 state elections and PBS joined BN till the latter’s fall in GE14.
It is currently part of the Perikatan Nasional federal government.
In the upcoming state polls, 73 seats are up for contest, including 13 newly-gazetted seats.
PBS is expected to work and negotiate with Umno, Bersatu, Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah and Parti Solidarity Tanah Airku on seat divisions to avoid overlapping contests.