KOTA KINABALU: Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) parties have yet to hold formal discussions on seat distribution in the state for the next general election, says Sabah Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia strategic and election director Datuk Seri Lajim Ukin.
However, he gave an assurance that there would not be any conflicts among GRS partners despite Umno’s recent statement on its desire to contest in at least 14 out of the 25 parliamentary seats available.
Any party could make an estimate of the seats it wishes to contest, he said on Monday (Feb 22).
"Anyone can come up with a target, we in Bersatu could also say we target 10 or more seats, but be reminded that in GRS, we have other partners like STAR, SAPP, PBS and Umno/Barisan Nasional.
“I believe at the end of the day, we will think about the interests of the country and the people of Sabah, and we will all compromise on seat distribution.
“There will not be a party that is dominant (in number of seats), I think, ” he said.
Lajim, who is also a Bersatu supreme council member, said leaders in the pact communicate from time to time even though no official talks had been held yet.
He believed such informal talk will be channelled into an official discussion once the parties sit down together.
“I also met up with Umno leaders where we talked about how to strengthen ties between Perikatan Nasional and Barisan.
“Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin, for example, might meet up with Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor and talk privately, and give reasons why Umno is eyeing a particular seat, ” said Lajim.
Bung Moktar, who is Sabah Umno and Barisan chief, said recently that Sabah Umno hoped to contest more than half the 25 seats, adding that the party had conducted studies to see which seats it had the strongest chances of winning.
In the 14th General Election, Sabah Umno contested 14 parliamentary seats.
At present, it holds two seats - Kinabatangan, held by Bung; and Kimanis, held by Datuk Mohamad Alamin - after five of its Sabah MPs left to join Bersatu after GE14.