KOTA KINABALU: Sabah PPBM today announced its intention to contest in the forthcoming Kimanis by-election and asked that Pakatan Harapan national leaders give it a shot.
State PPBM liaison committee secretary Ronald Kiandee said Sabah PPBM felt it should contest in the by-election as the party’s Kimanis division had been very active on the ground since PPBM spread its wings to Sabah in April.
“There has been an exodus of many leaders and members from rival parties into Sabah PPBM, thus making the division a stronghold of the party in Sabah.
“PPBM is one of the largest PH component parties in Sabah, with the most number of elected representatives, second only to Warisan,” he said in a statement here today.
Kiandee said the party was aware that Warisan had fielded its candidate in Kimanis in the 14th general election.
Sabah Pakatan Harapan chairman Christina Liew, in a statement recently, had expressed her support for Warisan to field a candidate in the Kimanis by-election.
Bitter rivalry exists between Warisan and PPBM following PPBM’s decision to break the pre-GE14 verbal agreement not to set foot in Sabah.
A by-election is to be held in Kimanis after an election court declared the election of Anifah Aman, of Barisan Nasional then, to be null and void because of irregularities in the balloting.
The Federal Court upheld the decision on Dec 2 in an appeal filed by Anifah following the refusal of the Election Commission to appeal.
Anifah’s special officer, former Petagas assemblyman James Ligunjang, recently noted that Anifah is likely to sue the EC next week for its failure to uphold a fair election process and will attempt to set aside the Federal Court’s decision to deny him his right to be Kimanis MP.
Kiandee, who is also Anifah’s former colleague in Sabah Umno, said Sabah PPBM chief Hajiji Noor had made known PPBM’s intention to contest in the by-election to party chairman Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
However, he said the party would heed any decision made by the PH leadership on who is to be fielded in Kimanis.
Kimanis PPBM chief Mohd Arifin Mohd Arif said they are prepared to take on the responsibility to win Kimanis, if given the chance.
He also said the division is also prepared to assist any candidate chosen by the PH national leaders.
Warisan reminds Pakatan Harapan of seat negotiations held last year
Warisan president Mohd Shafie Apdal said today he did not oppose Sabah PPBM’s interest in contesting the by-election but reiterated that talks on seat distribution were held with Pakatan Harapan before the 2018 general election.
“It is up to Sabah PPBM. They can contest, but what is more important is (the ability of the party) winning,” he said. All parties could ask to contest but when it’s time for a decision “it’s all about fielding a winnable candidate”.
“We have to work and cannot be very arrogant. We can share the seats, but what if we give more to our partners and they don’t win in the end?
“I have already asked Sabah PH chair Christina Liew to discuss with them — Sabah DAP, PKR and PPBM,” he told reporters in Pulau Gaya.
Warisan had an electoral partnership with Sabah DAP and Sabah PKR in the 2018 general election. Sabah PPBM was formed in April this year.