KOTA KINABALU, Oct 29 —Parti Kesejahteraan Demokratik Malaysia (PKDM), a Warisan splinter party today confirmed they will contest in three major parliamentary interior seats — the Tenom seat as well as the Keningau and Pensiangan seats.
Party president Datuk Peter Anthony himself will contest the Tenom seat as expected, against former DAP ally and incumbent Noorita Sual as well as candidates from Warisan and the ruling Gabungan Rakyat Sabah(GRS)-Barisan Nasional (BN) government.
It will be Peter's first time contesting a parliamentary seat but the multi-cornered fight is expected to be among the hot seats for the state.
Peter has yet to name the candidates for Keningau and Pensiangan seats. Both constituencies are strongholds for incumbent Parti Solidarity Tanah Airku (Star) president Datuk Jeffrey Kitingan and Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (PBRS) deputy president Datuk Arthur Kurup.
PKDM had previously announced it would contest in Kota Kinabalu, Kota Marudu, Sepanggar and Kimanis. His vice president, Juil Nuatim, is expected to contest the Papar seat.
"The rest we will announce next week. Maybe latest by November 3 or 4. There are a lot of potential candidates who want to contest using our logo so we have to vet everyone. Only those with the potential to win, or at least compete, will go through,” he said.
However, PKDM’s participation against the ruling government continues to raise eyebrows as Peter declared them friendly to the GRS-BN government despite their pending approval to join the coalition.
He reiterated his stand that the party would support the government of the day elected by voters.
"So that’s why we are GRS-friendly in the state. But we are about to elect a federal government now so if we lose, we will be gentlemen and support the government of the day, which I think is normal, in the interest of development,” he said.
Peter said he did not know why certain quarters were making it such an issue, suggesting that perhaps some parties felt threatened.
Both Umno and Warisan leaders have insinuated that PKDM was in cahoots with GRS with an agenda perhaps to split votes.
However, Peter denied the allegations, saying that PKDM has no role in the state’s management and administration.
"I am PKDM president and president of KDM Malaysia — it's not logical that I am here to split up votes. That is a wild accusation. In the end, what’s important is who the people choose. We will know on November 19 whether what they say is true,” he said.
Peter took a swipe at his former party and suggested that the party stay out of the interior districts which were not their forte.
"As you can see, they had less than 200 people attend their event here yesterday. Looks like it's not exactly a big welcome. I advise them to concentrate on the east coast, not in the interior or KDM areas,” he said.
Peter was referring to Warisan president Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal’s presence in Tenom yesterday, where he urged voters to reject Peter and PKDM.
Shafie wields the most influence in his home base of Semporna and the east coast, and the party has been struggling to gain the support of the non-Muslim communities.
Peter, a former Warisan vice president and close ally to Shafie, won the Melalap state assembly seat on a Warisan ticket in the 2020 state polls, one of only two non-Muslim seats that the party won.
He later quit the party to form PKDM, citing changes to the party's direction and agenda.
Several court charges for corruption against him were also dropped recently.