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Wednesday February 6, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Wednesday April 17, 2013 MYT 12:02:50 PM
by muguntan vanar
Uphill task: (From left) Bumburing, Lajim, Dr Jeffrey and Yong are facing tough decisions as the general election looms.
KOTA KINABALU: The 13th general election is heading for a multi-cornered fight in nearly all seats with the Opposition unable to hammer out a deal in Sabah.
The squabbling between national and local Opposition parties make one-on-one contests unlikely, and this is expected to give Barisan Nasional a stronger hand in retaining Sabah.
Talks between local-based Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) headed by Datuk Yong Teck Lee and Sabah STAR led by Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan with Pakatan Rakyat are bogged down.
All indications show that SAPP and Sabah Star will likely do a deal to push the Sabah agenda while Pakatan Rakyat with its local-based allies Tuaran MP Datuk Wilfred Bumburing and Beaufort MP Datuk Lajim Ukin will go it alone for the 60 state and 25 parliament seats.
“Pintu sudah tutup tapi belum kunci (The door is closed, but not yet locked),'' Bumburing said yesterday, hinting that PKR, DAP and PAS under Pakatan will work with him and Lajim.
Bumburing said that traditionally Sabah voters have chosen between only two parties.
“The choice this round is between Barisan and Pakatan,'' he claimed, adding that he did not believe that Sabah-based parties would make a dent.
When contacted, Dr Jeffrey, whose party is being approached by a Sabah DAP leader, said that a free-for-all was on the cards but there were talks to ensure “one-on-one'' fights in 12 of the 25 parliamentary seats.
“We are okay with the idea of a pact for certain parliament seats,'' said Dr Jeffrey, whose party has called for the national opposition to stay out of Sabah.
“We are ready (to go it alone) irrespective of any seat arrangement,'' said Dr Jeffrey, whose party has teamed up with the unregistered Usno Baru under the Borneo Alliance.
Yong said that Pakatan has communicated a seat arrangement offer to the SAPP through a letter but he wants the coalition to make a public announcement before SAPP's supreme council decides on it.
This, he said was to prevent things turning messy as the national opposition coalition had many entities and were also in a deadlock over seats in other states including Sarawak.
Yong did not want to reveal the details of the Pakatan seat-sharing formula but it is widely speculated that the 85 state and parliamentary seats in Sabah will be shared equally between six entities PKR, DAP, PAS, SAPP, Lajim and Bumburing.
The Pakatan offer is likely to be rejected by SAPP as both Lajim and Bumburing were planning to use the PKR symbol and this would give the party the largest chunk of seats in Sabah.
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