KOTA KINABALU, Aug 17 — The state Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) government said that it would prefer to head into the general election (GE15) united, once a consensus has been reached on seats.
Its secretary-general Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun said that although it was prepared for the reality of a “free for all” contest, which would see coalition partners pitted against each other, GRS hopes that all parties would be able to come to a compromise.
“For the first time in politics, let us unite. Our issue should not be Bersatu vs Umno, or Bersatu vs Star, or anything. The issue here is how much are we willing to put aside our differences for the benefit of Sabah’s wellbeing?
“So we prefer to negotiate because we want Sabahans to win in the end,” he said.
The GRS coalition was formed during the last state election and is made up of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu), Parti Solidarity Tanah Airku (Star), Sabah Progressive Party and Parti Bersatu Sabah. Umno is also part of the government that GRS formed, but not in the GRS coalition.
Since the public falling out between Bersatu and Umno at the national level, there is uncertainty about whether they will compete against each other in GE15.
Masidi, who is also Sabah Bersatu’s deputy chairman, said that the party was planning to negotiate to avoid seat clashes and expressed his hope that it would be a fair outcome for all.
“We are still negotiating. If we can, we also want to contest 14 seats, isn’t it? But I think it should be on a fair basis,” he said, referring to Sabah Umno’s statement that it was looking to contest 14 out of the 25 parliamentary seats in Sabah.
He said that GRS deputy chairman Datuk Seri Jeffrey Kitingan had previously stated the party’s stand when he said that GRS was prepared for a free for all, in case national politics was headed that way and parties in GRS could not come to an agreement.
“But I think we need to get more from the federal government and the best way is for Sabahans to unite. Forget about party affiliations for once, and show KL that we are united,” he said.
“In Semenanjung, they can afford to fight among each other because they are well developed. Just look at their roads. But are we in the same position here in Sabah? I think we should prioritise what’s more important to us, and that is to develop Sabah,” he said.