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Warisan questions sincerity of Sabah PH in offering 36 seats

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KOTA KINABALU: Parti Warisan Sabah poured cold water on Sabah Pakatan Harapan’s latest attempt to entice the local party into having an agreement on seat distribution for the next general election (GE14).

Earlier today, Sabah PH deputy chairman Stephen Wong said the national-based coalition had agreed to let Warisan take the lead in the state and contest 36 seats out of the total 60 state seats.

Warisan deputy president Darell Leiking said he was surprised to read about the offer because any such plan should be discussed face-to-face between PH and Warisan first before any agreement was made public.

“I am assuming this ‘offer’ was discussed at Sabah PH’s meeting last night with PPBM president Muhyiddin Yassin,” he said in a statement.

Muhyiddin, who is also PH elections director, arrived in Sabah yesterday to discuss election preparations and seat arrangements.

Leiking said he hoped Sabah PH chairperson Christina Liew can verify if the statement issued by her deputy was genuine and that there was no malicious intent on PH’s part to openly issue an ultimatum to Warisan.

“Some may easily manipulate the open ultimatum to imply that Warisan is a greedy partner in wanting to lead the opposition.

“I personally have much trust and respect in Liew’s wisdom as she has been sincere and strategic in her political stance and we await her statement,” he said.

Leiking said Warisan, as a multiracial party, was glad it would be given seats in the urban and suburban areas and Chinese-majority seats, which are monopolised by Sabah DAP.

He also wondered if the “ultimatum” issued by Wong was actually the stance of PH, because Warisan has yet to see the offer or DAP’s own stand on the matter.

He believed issuing such an ultimatum was unwise as there had been no concrete offer on the table.

Seat negotiations should also consider various issues and not just the number of seats a party wishes to contest, he added.

Such factors, Leiking said, included the personality traits of the local leaders eyeing a particular seat, the parties’ machinery, political activities on the ground and reception by the people at those areas.

“Contrary to what the race-based parties have stated, Warisan is a party for all Sabahans and we have our rationale as to how some seats are best allotted.”

Muslim-majority seats

Leiking said PH’s leaders should realise that the entire purpose of seat negotiations is not only to secure the most number of seats but to have a rational discussion based on multiple social or political factors and to eventually come up with a collective decision as to who gets which seats, based on the political reality in Sabah.

“It would not make any political sense if PH wants Warisan to concentrate only on Sabah’s east coast or Muslim native-majority seats when Warisan has the support of all Sabahans, regardless of their ethnicity,” he said.

Leiking is also convinced that an electoral pact between Warisan and PH is vital.

However, he said it would have been courteous if PH had discussed the offer with Warisan first before issuing an ultimatum.

The Penampang MP reiterated the need for PH leaders to assess the seat distribution issue in Sabah objectively and practically to ensure a two-thirds majority win for the opposition in the upcoming elections.

“First and foremost, PH leaders must understand that Warisan is aiming for a two-thirds majority in the state assembly.

“Only such a win allows the motion to activate Article 8 on the Malaysia Agreement 1963 to be successfully tabled at the assembly as well as to govern Sabah firmly and without any obstacles.”

Having said that, Leiking added that Sabah must be represented by MPs from the local-based parties as they will not be confined to any political restraint when it comes to asserting Sabah’s rights as an equal founding partner of the Federation of Malaysia.

Leiking also said he respected PKR leaders in the Sabah PH because, through his own personal experience with them, he knew the leaders in the party were committed to activating provisions under MA63.

He said an electoral pact was possible between Warisan and PKR.

“Once the state and parliamentary seats have been decided, then Warisan and PKR will likely embark into an electoral pact and assist one another in the state seats both parties are contesting in order to achieve the two-thirds majority,” Leiking said.

PH to Warisan: Give us federal seats and we give you state seats




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