Hamzah Zainuddin: GRS has reached compromise with coalition partners to not compete against each other

PN secretary-general Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin said negotiations had gone well and by Tuesday latest they will announce the sole candidates they’ve chosen for the respective seats. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
PN secretary-general Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin said negotiations had gone well and by Tuesday latest they will announce the sole candidates they’ve chosen for the respective seats. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 21 — Gabungan Rakyat sabah (GRS) has reached a consensus with its coalition partners to not compete against each other for similar Sabah State Assembly (DUN) seats in the upcoming Sabah general elections.

Speaking to Utusan Malaysia, Perikatan Nasional (PN) secretary-general Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin said negotiations had gone well and by Tuesday latest they will announce the sole candidates they’ve chosen for the respective seats.

Hamzah said he had read media reports stating how Sabah’s Barisan Nasional (BN) chief Datuk Bung Moktar Radin had said the competition between the parties was a “friendly match” adding that the problem was merely overlapping contestants. 

“I urge the people to trust that Bersatu and Umno have come to a consensus that’s why there won’t be any clashes between us. I have met and had discussions with the PBS president and in the end they agreed to be friends with PN.

“So it’s not “friendly” anymore but “partners”. Partner meaning equals,” Hamzah was quoted saying in Utusan Malaysia.

Hamzah said he had asked some of the parties to withdraw their candidacy and told them how to do it. He also said he met with Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (Star) president Datuk Jeffrey Kitingan and said the latter agreed there should not be clashes between the parties.

“Datuk Jeffrey was a gentleman and he agreed after discussions that Star and PBS should not clash with one another.

“God willing this matter can be settled before the 26th or as soon as possible, maybe Tuesday we can sort all this out and make a joint announcement,” he added.

The GRS is a coalition comprising PN, BN and local Sabah Opposition parties that were cobbled together to jointly challenge the ruling Warisan Plus pact.

On September 12 at the end of nominations, it was confirmed that GRS parties will face off against their own allies in nearly a quarter of the 73 seats up for contest, which would split their support against Warisan Plus that avoided overlaps.

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had tried to forge a truce but was unsuccessful when the local party unexpectedly fielded candidates in Paginatan, Lumadan, Tambunan, Bingkor, Tulid, Moyog, and Liawan.

This put three GRS parties on a collision course in Paginatan and Tulid, caused clashes between PBS and BN parties in 10 seats, and between the local party and PN parties in six.

Voting for the Sabah elections is on September 26.

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