KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Umno is hoping that it will get the support of its one-time ally in the local opposition as they prepare to take on the ruling Parti Warisan Sabah in the Jan 18 Kimanis by-election.
However, Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS), led by Datuk Dr Maximus Ongkili, has yet to indicate if they will contest the by-election, while Sabah STAR, headed by Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan, said they would be sitting it out and taking a neutral position.
Sabah Umno chief Datuk Seri Bung Mokhtar Radin said they were still in discussion with PBS to not contest the Kimanis seat which was had its GE 14 results nullified by the Election Court.
“We are talking. I can’t say much now, ” he said when contacted on Tuesday (Dec 24).
Sabah Umno is keen to win back the Kimanis seat that was held by former foreign minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman, who left Umno to become an independent in September last year.
Anifah, who is the younger brother of former chief minister Tan Sri Musa Aman, has announced that he would not be defending the seat he held for the last 20 years.
Last week, Ongkili said they were still studying the political ground in Kimanis, which is a predominantly Muslim bumiputera seat. Muslims make up 65% of the 30,000-odd voters while Kadazandusuns make up 28%.
The PBS president said that there were no favours owed to Sabah Umno, who stayed out of the Sandakan by-election in May this year, to allow PBS candidate Datuk Linda Tsen to contests against DAP candidate Vivien Wong.
“We don’t owe favours to any political party except the rakyat, ” he said when asked if they would give way for Umno to take on Warisan in Kimanis.
Dr Jeffrey, meanwhile, said that Sabah STAR would not be contesting Kimanis as they would be concentrating their resources on the next general election.
“We will remain neutral officially but our people are free to campaign for who(ever) they like to support, ” he said, indicating that the party was not giving clear support to Umno.
It is learned that most local based opposition parties – Sabah STAR, Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) and Usno, among others – are trying to work out a united front or a single party for the next general election.
There is talk that Anifah is likely to lead the local opposition front, which is keeping a distance from Umno.
PBS, who is in communication with fellow local-based opposition parties, is now seen to be keeping a distance from Umno.
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