KOTA KINABALU: Sabah STAR is closely watching political developments in peninsular Malaysia that will reflect Sabah's battle lines in the coming general elections.
Sabah STAR president Datuk Seri Dr Jeffrey Kitingan said the fluid political situation in peninsular Malaysia would also draw the lines between current coalitions and parties in Sabah when the general election is called.
"Politics is fluid. If it is a free-for-all situation in peninsular Malaysia, then I believe the same situation will be true in Sabah," he said after receiving 1,000 new members in the Papar constituency about 40km from here.
Sabah STAR is part of the five party Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) led Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) coalition working with Sabah Barisan Nasional led by Sabah.
Apart from Sabah STAR and Sabah Bersatu, the other parties in GRS were Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS), Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) and Usno.
Commenting on the issue of seat allocation in the next general election between GRS parties as well as Sabah Barisan, Kitingan reiterated that Sabah STAR's position was to eye all available seats.
"Of course, we are part of a coalition. Therefore, it is natural that we will have to divide the seats fairly among ourselves, based on our respective strengths.
"There has been speculation regarding where we will place our candidates.
"We have many options, but whatever seats we are given, we will make sure we win them," he said, adding that they had to keep an eye on the situation in peninsular Malaysia.
Addressing the issues of STAR divisional chiefs leaving the party, Kitingan said some of the former divisional chiefs left the party because they wanted to be candidates for their new party.
"That is what I heard. But it is okay. That is how democracy functions. Such incidents have no bearing on STAR," he said.
He said the party was still strong as reflected by the entry of 1,000 new members that included several former leaders and members of opposition parties.
"We also launched our election machinery here in Papar today (Aug 12), and we are optimistic that with the increasing number of party membership, they will be able to assist the party in winning the parliamentary seat here in Papar, whoever the candidate may be," he added.