Incumbent MP Kiandee in the eye of a Beluran storm

KOTA KINABALU: He has been an MP since 1999, he is the Federal Agriculture and Food Industry Minister and is Bersatu vice-president, too – yet, Datuk Seri Dr Ronald Kiandee is facing an uphill task to get a ticket to defend his Beluran parliamentary seat.

Bersatu is part of the Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) coalition but it is learnt that the seat has been allocated to Sabah Barisan Nasional-Umno, GRS’s election partner.

Both Bersatu’s Sabah chapter and Sabah Umno are refusing to budge over the seat arrangement and the issue is only worsened by the fact that Bersatu and Umno are now also enemies at the federal level.

Kiandee, who first won the seat in 1999, did so on a Barisan-Umno ticket.

He again won it on a Barisan ticket in 2018 before becoming part of an exodus from Sabah Umno in December 2018, led by then state Umno chief Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor.

The group joined Bersatu in April 2019.

It is understood that Umno is keen to keep its traditional Beluran seat and has identified its candidate to contest there.

Kiandee, as the incumbent, is also adamant that he should defend the seat and his word carries weight as Bersatu national vice-president.

Sources say that this could lead to a free-for-all in Beluran if Sabah Barisan chief Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin refuses to budge.

Bersatu might even field Kiandee as a Perikatan Nasional candidate for the seat. Bersatu leads the Perikatan coalition at the federal level.

However, Hajiji, who is GRS chairman and Sabah Bersatu chief, said talks on the candidate selection were still ongoing.

The Sabah Chief Minister said GRS and Barisan would support the candidates who are selected.

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Ronald Kiandee , Beluran , GE15


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