Warisan to lead opposition charge in Sabah at GE14

Jason Santos

(From left) Pakatan Harapan Sabah deputy chairman Stephen Wong, Muhyiddin Yassin and PH Sabah chairman Christina Liew at their a press conference on the opposition’s seat distribution in the state today. – The Malaysian Insight pic, January 24, 2018.

SABAH Pakatan Harapan (Sabah PH) has agreed to let Parti Warisan Sabah take the lead in the battle for the Land Below the Wind, offering the state opposition party the lion’s share of state seats at 60%, in return for 60% of the state’s parliamentary seats.

The offer was conveyed to Warisan today, along with a deadline to complete seat negotiations by end of the month, said Sabah PH deputy chairman cum state DAP chairman Stephen Wong.

“This is the best we could offer Warisan. This is the consensus of Pakatan Harapan. We are proposing the 60% (of the state) seats to them, which we think is very, very fair,” he said.

The consensus came following a lengthy meeting between Sabah PH and national PH deputy chairman and election director Muhyiddin Yassin, last night.

Wong, who got into a war of words with Warisan over the allocation of rural seats two weeks ago, took on a more conciliatory tone today, saying the matter was only a “minor issue”.

“We are very flexible. Our main goal is only to have a change of government. But we must come to a compromise.”

There are 60 state seats and 25 parliamentary seats in Sabah.

Meetings have been arranged for the leaders from Warisan and PH Sabah to refine their seat negotiations, said Wong.

Talks between the state and national opposition coalition on an electoral pact have been ongoing for weeks, but now opposition leaders have until next week to arrive at a consensus.

Muhyiddin, who announced the tight deadline to reach a consensus, said he deems Warisan founder and president Shafie Apdal a “good friend”.

“Before the end of this month… the allocation of seats between the negotiating parties must be finalised, according to the PH presidential council.

“With regard to candidates, the names of all the candidates not just in Sabah but also the whole country will be announced after all seat negotiations have been completed,” he said at a news conference today.

Muhyiddin made no mention of cooperation with other state opposition parties, except Warisan, but said PH is willing to work with any party with the same goal of replacing Barisan Nasional.

“But this is what we hope for in the general election and the most important is that we must get our act together.

“Sabah may experience change of governments in the past, but changing the national government is not an easy task.”

He said he was in the BN fold previously, and coordinated and close cooperation is needed to put up a good fight against the ruling coalition.

“I know how BN works, but now I am in the opposition side, so there are strategies to be worked out, having a clear objectives and principles,” said Muhyiddin, who was deputy prime minister until he was dropped by Prime Minister Najib Razak in a cabinet reshuffle in 2015.

Speaking on the preparations of PH Sabah, Muhyiddin said he is satisfied with the preparations done by component parties, PKR, DAP and Amanah.

The coalition is also in the midst of preparing for its convention to unveil the final phase of the PH’s “new deal” in Sabah. – January 24, 2018.

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