KOTA KINABALU, Sept 14 — Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) secretary-general Datuk Jahid Jahim said they knew there will be clashes with their Perikatan Nasional allies in almost all of its 22 seats in the state election after high tension saw neither sides backing down.
Jahid denied that PBS was being ‘greedy’ as alleged and instead said they are just acting in defence following ‘attacks’ from other parties when they decided to contest in some of the same seats.
“We expected multiple contests from our partners, and we are ready to defend our position,” said Jahid, adding that it was done with the intention of winning for the benefit of the PN government.
He said during meetings with Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia secretary-general Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin in Kuala Lumpur and Sabah, they had talked about the impending “friendly” contests.
“We expected the open contest, but the real question here is who went against who?” questioned Jahid.
He said that in the two meetings headed by Hamzah, tempers were high as parties refused to withdraw and they were all unable to find an amicable solution.
The Tamparuli candidate said that it was Party Solidarity Tanah Airku president Datuk Jeffrey Kitingan who first “invited” PBS to a friendly contest in the Liawan seat.
He said PBS had done its best to avoid overlapping seats in order to avoid split votes which benefit the opponents, but pointed out that their PN partners was the first one to open fire.
“A day before nomination, our intelligence and senior leaders monitoring the constituencies allocated to us found out that our partners from BN and PN were going for our necks by putting up candidates and independents for open friendly contests. It was clear,” he said.
He named BN components Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (PBRS) for going against them in the Tandek, Matunggong, and Kadamaian seats, Umno in the Melalap, Bengkoka, Tanjung Aru and Telupid seats while MCA would contest against them in the Kapayan and Karamunting seats.
“As for Sabah STAR, it turned out to be that they prepared themselves well and put up independents using several of their division chiefs in Bengkoka through Pransol Tiying, Datuk Anita Baranting (Tandek), Dr Paul Porodong (Matunggong), and Marcel Jude Joseph (Api-Api).
“PBS hardly had any constituency that is not contested by PN/BN partners. However, we take it in the good spirit of the friendly contest,” he said.
On the eve of nominations, the PN alliance was hoping to come to a last-minute agreement to untangle overlaps in some 11 seats.
The number grew to 17 as it became apparent that PBS had added candidates to seven more seats.
However, it has soon emerged that PN, and specifically STAR has unofficially backed another six independent but “PN-friendly” candidates, taking clashes up to 20 seats.