KOTA KINABALU: Barisan Nasional will be extra cautious when negotiating seats with its state partner Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) for the coming general election, says Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
The Barisan chairman said what happened after GRS and they took over the Sabah government following the state election in 2020 had taught them a lesson.
"We were cornered.
"I don't think we should be experiencing another political corner. It would not benefit us.
“So, we have to be more careful. We have to be on the upper hand," he told reporters at the sideline of the Sabah Barisan convention in Penampang here on Saturday (July 2).
Asked if he meant the political cornering referred to the appointment of the chief minister, Ahmad Zahid said that was not the case but other issues.
Sabah Barisan had argued that it deserved the position after it won more seats than Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia but eventually gave way to Sabah Bersatu chairman Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor.
This was to ensure the GRS coalition stayed in power after winning the elections.
On working with GRS for the coming general election, Ahmad Zahid who is Umno president said he would leave that to Sabah Barisan and its chief Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin to decide on.
Bung Moktar who was also present said they were still talking to their allies in GRS but held back on the type of working formula with them.
"We have five options. It's a strategy," he said, without elaborating.
Meanwhile, Ahmad Zahid said Barisan would be amending its constitution to make Sabah Barisan an entity on its own in line with what was done for Sabah Umno.
“This is needed to meet the political dynamics in the state which is different compared to the peninsula.
“We will take the proposal to the Barisan supreme council for approval.
"But Sabah Barisan won't have the same autonomy that Sabah Umno has," he said, adding the national leadership would still call the shots on candidates for the general election.
“The amendment will allow Sabah Barisan to have its own committee structure and also have an election manifesto that is specific for Sabah compared to the national manifesto by Barisan in the peninsula,” he added.
Ahmad Zahid also said four parties, including one from Sabah, had applied to join Barisan but they have yet to decide on the matter.