Opposition to use own symbols

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah’s key Opposition front aligned to the Perikatan Nasional coalition is likely to contest under three logos in the Sept 26 state election.

Sources close to the parties said Barisan Nasional, Perikatan and the local-based Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (PBRS) would contest with their own symbols in the respective seats allotted to them.

Sabah Barisan comprises Umno, PBRS and MCA while Perikatan in the state will be represented by Sabah Bersatu, Sabah STAR, PAS and the soon-to-be-admitted Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP), the sources said.

They added that Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS), a former member of Barisan, has decided to remain in alignment with the Opposition Perikatan in the state but prefers to use its own symbol in the seats it is contesting. It is learnt that negotiations for sharing of the 73 seats between Barisan, Perikatan and PBS are ongoing.

“Things are being finalised, with just a few seats that need to be ironed out, ” a political source said, adding that Umno and Bersatu were still working on the best party to contest in the newly created Muslim-majority seats.

It is also learnt that PBS and Sabah STAR are in discussions as well on sharing the non-Muslim bumiputra seats.

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin is expected to launch the newly-registered Perikatan logo during his two-day visit to the state starting today.

He is also expected to formally accept local Opposition SAPP led by former chief minister Datuk Yong Teck Lee into the Perikatan fold during his visit here and Sandakan.

It is still not clear who will lead Perikatan and its allies in the campaign against Warisan Plus led by caretaker Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal.

Sabah Umno is led by Kinabatangan MP Datuk Bung Moktar Radin, Sabah Bersatu by incumbent Sulaman assemblyman Datuk Seri Hajiji Mohd Noor while PBS is led by Sabah and Sarawak Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Maximus Ongkili.

Apart from the powerful national and local opposition alliance under Perikatan, Warisan is also facing a challenge from former foreign minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman who is leading a rebranded Parti Cinta Sabah (PCS) and former chief minister Tan Sri Chong Kah Kiat who has returned to lead the party he founded, Liberal Democratic party (LDP).

Both PCS and LDP have said they are contesting enough seats with an eye to forming the state government and have turned down any working relationship with other parties intending to form a grand opposition alliance.

In addition, Usno, which is likely to be taken over by former Dewan Rakyat speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia, and several other smaller parties are expected to join the race.

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