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Thursday, October 26, 2017

Lajim: Pakatan Harapan should stay out of polls in Sabah

KOTA KINABALU - Parti Harapan Rakyat Sabah president Lajim Ukin has advised Pakatan Harapan (PH) not to be greedy by wanting to contest Sabah’s state and parliamentary seats in the 14th general election when there are capable opposition parties in the state.

“Our goals are the same, to topple the Barisan Nasional (BN) government. So why not let Sabah mind our own business?

“Pakatan Harapan leaders can join local parties and we cooperate with these peninsula-based parties,” he said after opening his party’s first delegates assembly here today.

The Klias assemblyman said there were 165 parliamentary seats and more than 500 state seats in peninsular Malaysia for PH to contest.

With the huge number of seats available there, he said PH should leave the 60 state seats and 25 parliamentary seats in Sabah to the local parties.

“We have already considered some kind of collaboration with them but they have to be serious. At the moment, they are still undecided,” he said.

Sabah PH announced last month it would contest in all seats in Sabah.

However, its chairperson Christina Liew said PH was open to collaboration with “real opposition” who genuinely wanted to topple the current government, adding that Sabah PH had identified some local opposition parties it could work with.

Lajim said the opposition Gabungan Sabah alliance was pinning its hopes on his Harapan Rakyat to deliver the majority of the seats in GE14.

According to him, the alliance had finalised its seat distribution and his party was given 28 state seats and 14 parliamentary seats to contest.

Gabungan consists of Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (Sabah STAR) led by Jeffrey Kitingan, Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) by Yong Teck Lee, Lajim’s Harapan Rakyat and Parti Perpaduan Rakyat Sabah (PPRS) headed by Arshad Abdul Mualap.

SAPP was tasked to contest in urban seats such as Kota Kinabalu and Sandakan, but Lajim declined to reveal where his party would field candidates.

Lajim also promised to field at least six women candidates although the party still needed to refine its choices to ensure they were qualified with a clean background.

“We don’t want people with a questionable history, those who have been investigated by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) for example,” he said.

Lajim acknowledged that he and his party as well as the whole of Gabungan Sabah had been accused of colluding with BN to sabotage the “real opposition”.

“I heard rumours that we were paid millions of ringgit, some said RM50 million to do this. I don’t think the people will believe such outlandish accusations. It is not easy to keep such large amounts of money at home or even in the bank.

“I challenge the individuals who made the accusations to provide the evidence.

“So far, they just talk with the hope that our supporters will believe them. Sorry, but they will be sorely disappointed,” he said.

Lajim’s statement on MACC might stoke the already fiery social media war between Gabungan Sabah and Parti Warisan Sabah supporters as both sides accused each other of being BN’s puppets.

Nevertheless, Lajim said Gabungan Sabah would continue to discuss with Warisan on any possibility for collaboration.

By Tracy Patrick

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