Both Sabah chapters of Umno and Bersatu today staked claims over their rights to field candidates in the upcoming state elections, which would likely overlap.
In a statement today, Sabah Bersatu head Hajiji Mohd Noor (above) said that the party has identified 45 out of 73 seats available.
This included eight seats which were won on an Umno ticket in 2018, but the lawmakers have since defected to Bersatu, which did not field any candidates during the last Sabah polls.
Coincidentally, Hajiji's statement followed a report by China Press citing Sabah Umno head Bung Moktar Radin stating that his party will be fielding candidates for 32 seats that "traditionally" belonged to the party.
Bersatu and Umno are allied at the national level. Their relationship in Sabah is currently uncertain. Prior to the dissolution of the state assembly on Thursday, both parties were sitting on the opposition bench.
Sabah Umno, according to Bung (above), will discuss seat allocation with its BN allies PBRS and MCA tomorrow, while Hajiji said Sabah Bersatu is slated to fine-tune election preparations sometime in the coming week.
The Sulaman assemblyperson who defected from Umno in 2019, promised that Sabah Bersatu will hold discussions with Umno and BN to ensure a joint victory.
On Sabah Bersatu's manifesto, Hajiji said it will focus on reviving the state's economy following the Covid-19 outbreak and ensuring the rights of Sabahans are protected.
"We will ensure that the people of Sabah feel safe, secure and comfortable, and live harmoniously.
"We are confident that Bersatu will be the best alternative (to the Warisan government) which will be accepted by the majority to lead Sabah," he added.
The state election will have 73 seats up for grabs, up 13 from the polls in May 2018.