Seat allocation not resolved

KOTA KINABALU: There’s an air of urgency among the opposition in Sabah to resolve the seat allocation issue and shift their focus to preparing for the state polls on Sept 26.

Sabah Barisan Nasional chairman Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin (pic) said he did not want the issue to drag on.

“We have to finalise seats in the next two days. We can’t delay anymore, we got to prepare and move on the ground soon, “ he said, ahead of a dinner with Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin on Saturday evening.

The Sabah Umno leader showed signs of restlessness over the tricky and sometimes testy issue of seat sharing among eight parties in the state opposition front.Sabah Bersatu, PAS, Sabah STAR and Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) are members of Perikatan Nasional while Sabah Umno, MCA and Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (PBRS) come under the state Barisan.

Local based Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) is also an ally.

There has been progress and concessions during negotiations to divide the 73 state seats, which include 13 new constituencies, but discussion on certain seats remained deadlocked, sources said.

Umno and Bersatu are trying to reach deals in sharing the 45 Muslim bumiputra seats.

PBS, PBRS and Sabah STAR are trying to carve out some 23 to 24 Kadanzandusun, Rungus (non-Muslim bumiputra) and Murut seats, along with mixed Chinese seats.

Though most talks have been kept under the lid, there have been occasional statements justifying why a party should be allowed to contest a particular seat.

Leading the Sabah Barisan negotiation team, Bung is still in talks with Sabah Bersatu chief Datuk Hajiji Noor, who is leading the Perikatan negotiations. They are hoping to close the deal by Tuesday.

It is learned that Sabah Barisan is looking at 37 seats while Perikatan is eyeing 18 to 22 seats.Haggling continues over seats like Usukan, Darau, Pitas and Tempasuk that Umno considers its stronghold but are being eyed by Bersatu.

Muhyiddin’s two-day Sabah visit does not appear to have brought about an early resolution and opposition parties are expected to contest under three separate logos – Perikatan, Barisan and PBS.

He unveiled the Perikatan logo during meeting with Sabah Bersatu leaders.

He noted the new normal in Malaysia caused by the Covid-19 pandemic has brought about a new norm in politics.

Leaders must set aside their differences and cooperate for the greater good, said Muhyiddin.In his speech, the Prime Minister pressed the need for Perikatan partners to campaign on an united front.

“I want to say to the political leadership present – we must show the people we stand as one and work as a team to bring progress to Sabah.“Regardless if we are from Bersatu, Umno, Sabah Star, PBS, PBRS, MCA, PAS or SAPP... It does not matter where we come from because we are all Malaysians.

“Under this new norm, there should also be a new norm in politics for us to sit down in the interest of the people,” he said.

Muhyiddin said he was saddened that his long time friend, Parti Warisan Sabah president Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal did not join him.

He said parties must be brave and come together in politics, in reference to Sabah political parties with differing stands under the Perikatan pact for the state polls.

In Putrajaya, Barisan secretary-general Tan Sri Annuar Musa said they hoped to resolve the seat distribution by mid-week.

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