KOTA KINABALU: Upko wants to defend the five seats it won in the last general election and is also eyeing a few new seats to contest in the coming state election, its secretary-general Nelson W Angang said today.
Angang said the request has been made to its allies in Warisan Plus, which comprises Warisan, Upko, PKR and DAP.
“With 73 seats to be contested compared with 60 in the last election, we have identified the seats we want to stand in.
“Discussions are on-going with our allies and I believe the matter will be announced by the Upko president (Wilfred Madius Tangau) later,” he said when met at the party headquarters here.
“In principle, we will defend the five seats we won in GE14 although four of the incumbents have quit the party.”
Angang said the additional seats Upko was asking for were in areas where it believed it had a chance of winning.
“With due respect to our allies in the pact, we will not announce the total number of seats we are vying for,” he said.
He said the party would also be more careful in picking its candidates after what happened following the last general election.
“We are confident that the candidates to be fielded understand that when they are given a chance to stand, loyalty to the party’s struggle and to the other component parties is the main priority,” he said.
In GE14, Upko won five seats under the Barisan Nasional ticket through Ewon Benedick (Kadamaian), Limus Jury (Kuala Penyu), Abidin Madingkir (Paginatan), Masiung Banah (Kuamut) and Bobbey Suan (Nabawan).
However, the party decided to ditch the former ruling coalition and sided with Warisan-PH to form the state government.
All of their assemblymen joined in the move except for Bobbey, who has since joined Sabah PPBM. Masiung later quit Upko to join Warisan.
But last month, Masiung, together with Abidin and Limus, threw their support for former chief minister Musa Aman in his attempt to topple the Warisan-led government.
This move eventually triggered the snap election, following the dissolution of the state assembly by incumbent chief minister Shafie Apdal.