KOTA KINABALU: Sabah opposition parties are hoping to cobble together the elusive electoral pact that will enable them to take Barisan Nasional head-on in this election where 60 state and 25 parliamentary seats will be up for grabs.
To date three parties Pasok Nunuk Ragang Bersatu (Pasok), Parti Bersekutu and the Muslim Independent Front (MIF) have formalised an electoral accord and calling themselves Pakatan Sabah or the Sabah Alliance.
Since early last year, officials of the three parties have been holding informal meetings with representatives of Sabah Parti Keadilan Nasional as well as DAP, PAS and Parti Setia.
Their hope is to eventually thrash out a loose electoral agreement among themselves in time for the polls, believed to be in March.
Opposition leaders have so far agreed to use their respective party symbols instead of a common one for the polls.
Our goal is to contest against the Barisan candidate on a one-to-one basis. We reckon we stand a better chance in such a situation, said state Keadilan deputy chief Christina Liew, who acknowledged that piecing together such a deal would be an uphill task.
Liew made it clear that her party intended to field candidates in at least half of the state and parliamentary seats.
Pasok secretary general Kanol Gindol said his party wanted to contest in 30 state seats and leave the remaining to its Sabah Alliance partners and other opposition parties.
Sabah DAP chief Dr Hiew King Cheu said the party had decided at an election preparation meeting in Kuala Lumpur last weekend that it would be contesting in five state and three parliamentary seats.
Hiew said the parties concerned must realise that a one-to-one fight was the only way the opposition could take on Barisan.
At the same time, opposition party leaders like Pasoks Kanol are willing for forego any pact.
If we cannot agree, then we should allow the process of democracy to take place, he said.
Liew said their hopes for straight fights were likely to be dim as they expected a slew of independent candidates to join in the fray if certain Barisan parties failed to get their candidates in certain seats.
Meanwhile, a new Pertubuhan Kebangsaan Rakyat Sabah Bersatu party, calling itself Parti Bersatu, is asking the Registrar of Societies to approve its application so that it could contest in the polls.