No sign of compromise

  • Nation
  • Friday, 14 Aug 2020

KOTA KINABALU: With just three days to go before the Election Commission is expected to announce dates for the snap polls, Sabah’s political parties on both sides of the divide are still divided on the seat-sharing formula.

Both Warisan Plus and the alliance of opposition parties have yet to reach any consensus on a seat- sharing formula for the 73 state constituencies up for grabs in the coming polls following the dissolution of the state assembly on July 30.

The Election Commission is scheduled to announce the nomination and polling dates on Monday while on the same day, a High Court is to hear a bid by 33 assemblymen to stop the dissolution of the state assembly by the Yang Di-Pertua Negeri.

Warisan Plus, led by caretaker Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal, is expected to meet its partners, Datuk Seri Wilfred Tangau’s Upko, Sabah DAP chairman Datuk Frankie Poon, Sabah PKR chief Datuk Christina Liew and Sabah Amanah.

Although they have held an initial meeting, Warisan Plus sources said they expected overlapping seat demands, which could be testy for all sides.

However, the sources declined to talk about the formula being worked out, merely saying that like in the last state election, the multiracial Parti Warisan Sabah will lead the coalition that now includes Upko.

In the last election, Warisan

contested in the Muslim bumiputra and non-Muslim bumiputra (Kadazandusun, Murut and Rungus) as well as Chinese seats, sharing these with Sabah DAP and PKR, and with Sabah Amanah staying out.

“We don’t expect much problem. It will be sorted out in due course,” said a Warisan Plus source, who believes that they may be considering a single symbol for the coalition this time round.

Shafie had said recently that it was possible to consider one symbol for the coalition although some insiders believe that certain of its partners may resist the idea and prefer to contest on their own.

Upko, which was formed in 1994, has never contested on its Mount Kinabalu symbol, having run under the Barisan Nasional ticket until 2018.

Upko is expected to take a bigger role in the non-Muslim bumiputra seats for the Warisan coalition while PKR, a multiracial party like Warisan, is likely to ask for seats in Muslim and non-Muslim and Chinese areas.

On the opposition side, Sabah Umno led by Datuk Bung Moktar Radin and Sabah Bersatu under Datuk Seri Haji Mohd Noor are still talking on seat allocation, although sources indicate that negotiations are centred on 45 Muslim bumiputra seats.

“They are talking. It will be a done deal when the time gets closer,” said a source from the opposition alliance, adding that there was a possibility for them to name their proposed chief minister candidate.

He said agreements were also needed between Parti Bersatu Sabah under Datuk Seri Maximus Ongkili and Sabah STAR led by Dr Jeffrey Kitingan as well as Tan Sri Joseph Kurup’s Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah, a Barisan component.

PAS and Barisan’s MCA are also expected to field candidates from among the opposition.

There is also talk among the opposition alliance for all of them to contest under a single symbol to avoid voters’ confusion.

In Putrajaya, Bersatu secretary-general Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin said it had met political party leaders in Sabah to discuss seat allocation, adding, however, that discussions were only at initial stages.

He said they needed time to sort this out as it involved a large number of seats.

According to Hamzah, he had met leaders from Sabah Umno and PAS, as well as PBS and Sabah STAR.

“Allow me some time to work on this but we have already had meetings to discuss the issue. What is important is that should there be a state election, we want to win and take over the Sabah government,” he said after attending the Immigration Department’s excellent service award.

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Election Commission , dates , snap polls , Sabah


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