KOTA KINABALU: Three senior political leaders of Sabah and their respective parties are going into the general election as a united front for the first time to take on Barisan Nasional and other Opposition parties.
Sabah STAR led by Bingkor assemblyman Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan, Parti Harapan Rakyat Sabah (PHRS) led by Klias assemblyman Datuk Seri Lajim Ukin and Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) headed by former chief minister Datuk Yong Teck Lee are strategically sharing their party symbols to contest all 25 parliamentary and 60 state seats.
Naming their candidates for the seats separately at the same venue, the grouping of the three parties together with Parti Perpaduan Rakyat Sabah (PPRS), led by little known Mohd Arshad Abdul Maulap, have divided the seats among the four parties.
Sabah STAR will contest 17 state and five parliamentary seats with Dr Jeffrey going for the Keningau parliamentary and Tambunan state seats. PHRS will contest 28 state and 16 parliamentary seats with Lajim contesting the Beaufort parliamentary seat.
SAPP will contest four state and one parliamentary seats with Yong hoping to make a comeback by contesting the Kota Kinabalu parliamentary seat for the first time.
While there is no official announcement, PPRS is expected to take the remaining 11 state and three parliamentary seats.
Dr Jeffrey, Yong and Lajim had all contested against each other in 2013 but decided to join hands this time around by forming local Opposition pact Gabungan Sabah to strengthen their position.
However, they still need to go up against another Opposition front, Parti Warisan Sabah led by Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal.
Warisan has tied up with Sabah Pakatan Harapan in an electoral pact and also a third force involving a local party.