KOTA KINABALU, Sept 13 — Despite registering as an independent candidate during yesterday’s nominations, Inanam incumbent assemblyman Kenny Chua today revealed that he will contest the state election on a Perikatan Nasional (PN) ticket after receiving the blessings of coalition leaders.
Chua’s addition to PN’s roster of candidates comes following a clear rift between Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (STAR) and Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) who are both aligned with PN but are competing against each other in six seats.
“Since there were clashes between PBS and STAR, I then got this blessing to represent PN in Inanam,” said Chua.
When pressed to divulge who gave their blessings exactly, Chua pointed the finger at STAR president Datuk Jeffrey Kitingan and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu).
“Yes, from Datuk Jeffrey from STAR and also Bersatu because I would not go ahead if I don’t get their blessings, I am not like that, I would have gone alone,” he said.
“Because what has happened between PBS and STAR, it seems like PBS broke their promise because they are not supposed to contest where STAR is standing. They even challenged the president of STAR in Tambunan,” he added.
Chua made the comments when met on the campaign trail along Jalan Sukang Mabpai, Inanam, here, where people in PN vests were seen assisting with the setup of the event.
The promotional poster used as a backdrop during Chua’s speech, despite depicting the chair logo as designated for independent candidates by the Election Commission, also featured the text “Perikatan Nasional Friendly” (Mesra Perikatan Nasional).
Chua, when asked if he was confident about retaining his seat, sidestepped the question and said the final decision to re-elect him was in the hands of voters.
“I have done my part for the last two years, and I will let the folks of Inanam judge me based on my performance,” he said.
Tensions between the two parties stem from PBS’ decision to field 22 candidates as opposed to the 15 supposedly agreed upon with STAR, setting up the possibility of potential friendly fire in six state seats.
STAR’s Kitingan had expressed his disappointment at PBS, a party led by his brother Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan, saying its decision to renege on its agreement demonstrated PBS did not respect its partners.
Chua, a former PKR assemblyman, was one of the 33 representatives who backed former chief minister Tan Sri Musa Aman in a failed takeover bid of the state government.
He was also among the 33 appellants alongside Musa who applied through the courts to halt the elections following the dissolution of the state assembly in late July.
The Election Commission has set September 26 for polling and September 22 for early voting.