Sabah 2020: GRS component party may give up one overlapping seat

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PENAMPANG: A Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) component party may give up a seat in which it clashes with an ally following a discussion on the matter.

Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (Star) president Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan said talks among GRS allies – Parti Pribumi Bersatu Sabah, Barisan Nasional and Parti Bersatu Sabah – had been held and the parties are expected to reach a consensus on the issue today.

“We will reach a solution by tomorrow (today), at least for the seats between Star and Perikatan Nasional (PN), whereby there are six seats which clash with ours.

“It will be too late (for candidates to pull out), but they can announce their support for another candidate (from the other party),” he said after a Ceramah Perdana at Buhavan Square here, on Sunday night.

The 17 in which PN candidates overlap are Bengkoka, Telupid, Lumadan, Matunggong, Tandek, Kadamaian, Kapayan, Karamunting, Melalap, Sook, Bingkor, Moyog, Tulid, Paginatan, Liawan, Tambunan and Tanjung Aru.

The incumbent Tambunan assemblyman said he had met with his brother, Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan, the former PBS supremo on Sunday morning to discuss the fate of the overlapping seats.

Jeffrey said an announcement on the outcome of the discussion will be made before Sept 24 when Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin is expected to visit Sabah’s interior.

He said all party leaders and PN secretary-general Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin are expected to be present during the announcement.

Earlier during the ceramah, Jeffrey said his struggle for Sabahan rights as enshrined in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) has borne fruit.

In 1991, the Star president was detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) for alleged involvement in a plot to take Sabah out of the Malaysian federation when he aired his views on MA63.

“I had gone through many ordeals in the fight for the rights (of Sabahans) to the extent that I was jailed for almost two years.

“During those times, many thought that I was crazy for pursuing those rights (so much so) that some politicians and even my own children avoided me, fearing they too would be ‘infected’ with ISA.

“But, in the 14th general election, everyone began claiming that they were fighting for the rights of Sabah people,” he said.

Jeffrey added that it was a good thing that he managed to educate the people and raise awareness on the rights of Sabahans.

On claims that he is keeping quiet now after being appointed deputy Tourism, Culture and Arts minister, Jeffrey said he has become an equal partner at the federal level.

“I am already at level five, whereby I can just pluck fruits from a tree. Why would I have to start from a lower level – of climbing a tree?

“Now will be the implementation phase, whereby we have to ask what we want for the people, and not just wait for them to ask us.”

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