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KOTA KINABALU, Feb 19 — Downplaying Sabah Umno’s brazen declaration that it wishes to contest the majority of the state seats in the next elections (GE15), other parties under the Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) coalition government said today it is still up for discussion.
Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia vice-president Datuk Seri Ronald Kiandee said that it was Sabah Umno chairman Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin’s prerogative to declare his parties’ aspirations, but that the coalition still had to reach an agreement together.
“Everyone can say what they aim or plan to contest, but in the end, all parties under GRS and Perikatan nasional will still undergo the discussion where everybody gets to present their case and their strengths, and then all parties have to reach an agreement.
“This is how we have to face GE15, in order to guarantee a win,” he said.
Kiandee, who was speaking to reporters during a press conference today, said it was the same process that the coalition went through during the recent state polls before it was decided who would contest where.
Sabah Perikatan Nasional deputy chairman Datuk Jeffrey Kitingan, who was at the same press conference said that Bung has the right to lay his intentions out but that it does not mean the rest of the coalition would be in agreement.
“We can also say equally we want to contest 25 seats. We still have to sit down together and sort it out. At the end of the day we will have what is fair to all,” he said.
He and Kiandee joked that it is normal to squabble over seats allocations.
“Everybody has their number, but we somehow agreed on certain seats to contest — even though there were several open fights, a majority of seats were contested under coalition spirit.
“Everyone has right to say what they want. STAR will also want more seats. They will want more than PBS,” Kiandee added with a laugh.
During the recent state elections last September, there were some 17 seat clashes among the GRS coalition, some involving three parties.
Earlier this week, Bung had stated that Sabah Umno intended to contest in at least 14 of the 25 Sabah parliamentary seats in the coming GE15. It currently has two seats, after five of its other MPs quit the party en masse following a loss during GE14 and formed the Sabah chapter of Bersatu.
Bung said negotiations with the parties in GRS should be done transparently and as soon as possible.