KOTA KINABALU, April 17 — Sabah’s three Barisan Nasional local native parties are strengthening their bond and entering the coming election (GE14) with renewed unity and promises of support.
Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS), United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (Upko) and Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (PBRS) held their inaugural presidential council meeting today since setting up a special Kadazandusun Murut committee two months ago.
“With this renewed working relationship, we will coordinate our election machinery, minimise potentials of disunity and sabotage, and at the same time maximise unity for maximum chances of winning all our allocated seats,” said PBS president Datuk Seri Maximus Ongkili.
The three parties, he said, have put aside any misgivings from the past and would work together moving forward as they had many common goals to achieve within the KDM community.
“We listened to the desire of the grassroots who said if the Opposition can work together, we cannot be less than that and taking our working relationship for granted,” he said.
The meeting was chaired by Ongkili this time, and attended by Upko president Datuk Seri Wilfred Madius Tangau and PBRS president Tan Sri Joseph Kurup who will take turns chairing the meetings.
The parties have between them 20 out of 60 state seats and 10 out of 25 parliamentary seats. With the exception of several of PBS’ urban seats, most of the KDM seats are in rural areas.
Like in GE13, PBS will contest 13 state seats, Upko six and PBRS will contest one. For Parliament, PBS will contest five seats, Upko four, and PBRS will contest one seat.
"We will work together to win every seat that has been given to our parties for the benefit of our community. Any misunderstandings before is gone now," said Kurup.
PBRS and UPKO are both splinter parties of PBS, formed when its leaders defected from PBS after winning the 1994 state elections and causing one of the most controversial moments in Sabah’s election history.
On discussions of the possibility of seat swaps, Ongkili said several seats were still being considered, and will be decided upon soon.
Among the seats being considered for a swap is Upko’s Bingkor and PBS’s Kadamaian state seat. The two parties lost these seats in the last state elections.
“Yes, there are still on the cards. Refinements are still being done, and we will decide soon," he said.