Sabah PH scrambles to decide on seats before Muhyiddin visit

Christina-Liew-Muhyiddin-was-visitingKOTA KINABALU: Sabah Pakatan Harapan (PH) wants to put its house in order over the next few days before the opposition coalition engages in discussions with Parti Warisan Sabah on a possible seat-sharing formula for the 14th general election (GE14)

Components PKR, DAP and Amanah are trying to hammer out an agreement among themselves by the time PH deputy president Muhyiddin Yassin arrives in Sabah on Jan 23.

State PH chief Christina Liew said Muhyiddin was visiting to hear from the pact’s local officials about their preparations for the polls.

“As far as seat distribution among ourselves is concerned, it has yet to be finalised,” said Liew, who is Sabah PKR chief and Api Api state assemblywoman.

“We have to agree among ourselves before we can reach out to the others,” she said, acknowledging that the opposition field in the state was crowded.

“It’s not easy when some parties insist on contesting a certain number of seats while others say they want to field their candidates in all constituencies,” she added.

Liew said the best they could hope for was to minimise the number of multi-cornered contests in the 25 parliamentary and 60 state seats there.

“We don’t know what will happen between now and the eve of nomination day,” she told a press conference here today.

DAP has already staked a claim on five parliamentary seats and 12 state constituencies, while PKR and Amanah have been muted about which seats they want to contest.

Sabah PKR officials have said the starting point in their negotiations would be to contest all seats won by the party in the 2013 general election, comprising the Penampang parliamentary seat and seven state constituencies.

While Liew declined to comment further on the negotiations, it is understood that the talks are also focusing on Warisan.

She said sorting out a seat-sharing deal was crucial for the opposition to make headway in the state.

“The people of Sabah want a change and they will vote for the party that can effect that change, which is Pakatan,” Liew said.

Warisan president Shafie Apdal has said he is prepared to work with PH, but not the opposition alliance Gabungan Sabah made up of local outfits Parti Harapan Rakyat Sabah, Sabah Progressive Party, Parti Solidariti Tanah Air (Star) and Parti Perpaduan Rakyat Sabah.

In Sabah, homegrown opposition parties have the edge for now