KOTA KINABALU, Sept 24 — With just a day to go before polling, Perikatan National (PN) secretary-general Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin is still hoping that an eleventh-hour consensus can be reached between Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) parties to avoid some 15 clashing seats.
Hamzah said that he has spoken to all the party presidents involved to talk to each other and come to an understanding before polling day so as to minimise the problem of a split vote.
“For the last couple of days, we have done quite a good job. And now with less than 72 hours left, we all have to focus on something to make sure that whatever it is, we have to take over the state government,” he said.
Hamzah has been trying to broker deals between the parties to unofficially pull out of the race and support each other.
On Tuesday, PBS “withdrew” its candidates from running in Tambunan and Bingkor, where Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (STAR) was fielding its candidates to defend its seats.
STAR, in return, has pledged to unofficially pull out Independent candidates from Bengkoka and Api-Api, who were said to be aligned with STAR.
Its president Datuk Jeffrey Kitingan had also said the party would not be supporting Independent candidates linked to the party.
However, it later emerged that at least one candidate — Inanam incumbent Kenny Chua — was now a member of STAR, and he has stated that he will give the seat to STAR if he wins.
Tandek Independent Anita Baranting is also said to be campaigning on a STAR platform.
When asked about them, Hamzah said that it was a surprise to him.
Later, PBS secretary-general Datuk Jahid Jahim said that PBS was committed to sticking to its word that it would pull out of the race, but when asked about STAR’s apparent breach of agreement, he said he was unaware of it.
“This is the first I’ve heard of it. Let’s see how, I have to check first.
“As far as PBS is concerned, we have promised not to campaign in Tambunan and Bingkor and that agreement still stands,” he said.
PN, PBS and Barisan Nasional are clashing in at least 15 seats, with most non-Muslim Bumiputera seats.
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