KOTA KINABALU, Sept 16 — With Perikatan Nasional (PN) and Barisan Nasional (BN) at loggerheads over their choice of chief minister, Datuk Hajiji Noor said the former is entitled to name its own candidate by virtue of contesting a significant number of seats.
Despite that, the Sabah Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia chief, who has been named as PN’s choice of chief minister, said the issue is not a priority at the moment.
“We are contesting in quite a number of seats too actually... but that is now the main thing right now,” he said.
The Sulaman seat incumbent also said that Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali, who recently insisted on Hajiji despite opposition from BN, was speaking on behalf of PN.
“So that’s his proposal, and God willing I can lead, but we should concentrate on winning first,” he said
PN information chief Azmin had yesterday continued to front Hajiji as the Bersatu candidate for chief minister even though it was not agreed upon by PN and BN.
In a retort, BN chairman Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi then reiterated the importance of securing a victory first before a decision is made on who should lead the state.
He then warned PN not to come across as overconfident on the campaign trail and that the CM should be a candidate whose party had the most seats in the 73-seat state assembly.
However, the BN coalition would stand a better chance at deciding the chief minister candidate if the PN-BN-PBS alliance wins as it is contesting more seats than PN.
BN is contesting 41 state seats compared to PN’s 29 seats. PBS is contesting 22 seats.
The coalition partners will clash in some 20 out of the 73 state seats up for grabs.
The PN-BN-PBS alliance, also referred to as Gabungan Rakyat Sabah, is seeking to oust the incumbent Warisan Plus alliance comprising Warisan, Pakatan Harapan and Upko.