KOTA KINABALU: The race for the deputy presidency of Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS), which will pave the way to the top post in three years, is anybody's game, says Datuk Dr Joachim Gunsalam.
The party vice-president, who is vying for the number two spot, says the plan is for all three deputy presidents selected to work together and find the best one to lead the party within this three-year transition period.
"I leave it to the delegates, whoever they pick will have the responsibility to assist the president.
"My plan of action is to just meet the delegates and explain why I am contesting the deputy president's post, hopefully, they will understand my point of view," he told reporters at the sidelines of an event on Wednesday (June 29).
Party president Datuk Seri Maximus Johnity Ongkili announced, on Tuesday (June 28) while opening the PBS congress, that he will step down in three years time, keeping the presidential seat until the next congress to give time to find a capable successor.
There are three deputy presidents in the party; to represent non-Muslim Bumiputera, Muslim Bumiputera and Chinese.
Gunsalam will be facing off with party secretary-general Datuk Joniston Bangkuai for the non-Muslim Bumiputera slot, after incumbent Datuk Seri Radin Malleh decided not to defend the position.
Datuk Jahid Jahim who was made deputy president for the Muslim Bumiputera slot last year during a party revamp, is likely to retain the position unopposed.
Meanwhile, incumbent for Chinese slot Datuk Seri Dr Yee Moh Chai will be competing against senior PBS leader Datuk Edward Yong Oui Fah.
"The president (Ongkili) already said that this might be his last term, to me we are in transition to seek who is better qualified, who is going to lead PBS.
"It can either be Joniston, either me, or either Jahid. We also have two other potential deputy presidents in Yee and Yong.
"So we have to work as a team ... We have three years to work on it," explained Gunsalam.
At the same time, he said that the elections for supreme council members this time might come up with talented individuals, who could also help with the leadership.
"Maybe one of them can also lead us. It does not have to be anybody (in particular)," he stated.