PBS agrees to withdraw from contesting in two seats to avoid clashes

KOTA KINABALU: Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) has agreed to withdraw from contesting in two seats to avoid clashes within the Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) alliance.

The seats are Bingkor and Tambunan, where PBS had nominated Peter Jino Allion and Silverius Bruno, respectively.

The announcement was made by Perikatan Nasional secretary-general Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin, after he had witnessed the signing of an agreement between Sabah STAR president Datuk Seri Dr Jeffrey Kitingan and PBS secretary-general Datuk Jahim Jahid.

The agreement was struck following ongoing negotiations between GRS parties, which was set to clash in as many as 17 seats during the state polls this Saturday.

On its part, Sabah STAR will withdraw its endorsement and support for Independent candidates Akian Ah Kiew in Bengkoka and Marcel Jude in Api-Api, said Kitingan.

However, Parti Gagasan Rakyat Sabah (PGRS) under Sabah Barisan Nasional is still set to clash with PBS deputy president Datuk Dr Yee Moh Chai in Api-Api.

In Bengkoka, Sabah Umno’s Harun Durabi will take on PBS’ Dr Samuil Mupin.

The latest truce brokered by Hamzah, would mean the seats where GRS parties are set to clash had been reduced from 17 to 15.

Hamzah said the agreement was brokered following a meeting with PBS president Datuk Seri Maximus Ongkili in Kuala Lumpur recently.

“This morning, Maximus informed me that he has advised the PBS candidates for Tambunan and Bingkor to stop their journey (in contesting).

“He also told me that PBS in Tambunan and Bingkor will assist Perikatan candidates, ” said Hamzah.

He added there are four remaining seats (Liawan, Tulid, Moyog and Paginatan) where Perikatan’s Sabah STAR is still in the midst of negotiations to avoid clashes with PBS.

Hamzah said Sabah Barisan and other GRS parties are still in the midst of negotiations to ensure there are no clashes in the remaining seats it is contesting.

“We are still negotiating. I’ve spoken to the Barisan secretary-general, they are now talking to their people and once we agree to certain terms, we will do that, ” he said.

Asked if he was confident that he could successfully broker a truce, Hamzah said, “I’ll try my best”.

GRS’ ability to avoid internal clashes in the state seats is being watched by observers, as it could determine whether the main state Opposition coalition is able to put on a united front to take over the state government.

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