KOTA KINABALU: The 10-party ruling Gabungan Rakyat Sabah coalition will ensure that there will be no "friendly fights" between its components in the next general election.
GRS chairman Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor said that he was confident that an understanding will be forged between the various component parties to ensure that they are united as a single front in facing the opposition in the coming national polls.
"I hope that the GRS consensus will be able to bring us together to ensure that there will be no clash of seats between all the component partners in the GRS," he said in his speech to mark the two year anniversary of Sabah Bersatu on Monday (April 5).
"I am confident that the spirit of understanding in GRS will drive us towards unity and a more precise and cohesive spirit of cooperation," added Hajiji, who led the coalition to topple the Warisan Plus led state government in the Sept 26 snap Sabah state election.
He added that the GRS component parties have to build on the victory together and defend it as the strength of each party will in turn strengthen the partnership.
GRS is composed of the five-party Sabah Perikatan Nasional (Sabah Bersatu, Sabah STAR, Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP), Gerakan and PAS), four-party Sabah Barisan (Sabah Umno, Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (PBRS), Sabah MCA and Sabah MIC) and Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS).
In the last state election, GRS parties were clashing with each other in at least 20 of the 73 state assembly seats.
The GRS coalition managed to win 41 seats (with the support of three independents) to form the state government, while Warisan Plus secured 32 seats.
In his speech, Hajiji also thanked Sabah Umno chief Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin for his commitment to ensure that Sabah Umno and the state Barisan would stick together under the GRS, amid moves by Umno to go its own way in the next election.
"I would like to take this opportunity to express my appreciation to Bung, for his commitment to ensure that there will be no clash of seats between Umno and Bersatu in Sabah. Sabah Bersatu appreciates the stand made," he added.
Hajiji said the consensus among the GRS parties was important for Sabah as a united team, as it will help bring development to the state and also make the state a pillar of strength for the federal government.
He said a good working relationship with the federal government over last six months has seen crucial federal funding including the overdue payment of state sales tax on petroleum products from Petronas.
The two-year anniversary celebrations attended by GRS leaders was officiated by Bersatu deputy president Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu, who represented party president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
During the dinner, Sebatik assemblyman Hassan Gani Amir, who left Warisan on Feb 25, handed over his application form to join Bersatu.
He handed the application to Bersatu secretary general Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin.