Anwar’s Sabah plan dashed?


Daily Express

The Sarawak-based State Reform Party (Star) may contest in all 60 State Assembly seats and 25 Parliamentary seats in Sabah, said its Sabah chapter Chairman, Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan, here Monday.

The announcement, if it materialises, effectively jeopardises any hope of Pakatan Rakyat forging an understanding with Sabah-based Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) to ensure a straight fight between the Barisan Nasional and opposition in the coming general election.

Dr Jeffrey said this after a briefing by the State Election Commission on new election rules to Star and protem Usno leaders at the EC’s office at the Federal Secretariat in Likas.

Star was represented by about 20 of its senior leaders led by Dr Jeffrey himself while the Sabah EC officials by its State Director Datuk Idrus Ismail, while Usno was led by protem Deputy President Abdullah Sani Salleh.

Dr Jeffrey also said after the meeting that by contesting in all seats, it will be a referendum to seek views of Sabahans whether they continued to want to be “colonised” and “hegemonised” by outsiders or they want to take charge of their own fate and determine the future of Sabah and its people.

“Let this be a referendum…” he said, adding insinuations that Star could not contest in Sabah should not arise anymore with the meeting with EC and the fact that the party had in the past put up a candidate in Marudu, Sabah.

Dr Jeffrey, who is also Chairman of the United Borneo Alliance (UBA) that already groups Star and Usno, also said that while Star respects cooperation with any political party, it will not sell its soul or compromise its Borneo Agenda.

“Personal agenda is not our agenda. Our agenda is the Borneo Agenda,” he said.

On Sunday, Pakatan Keadilan Rakyat de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said PKR is willing to give up some of its usual contested seats in Sabah to local-based opposition, namely SAPP. PKR is a component of PR in the opposition alliance which also groups DAP and PAS. SAPP is not part of the alliance but declared its willingness to work alongside it.

The move was welcomed by SAPP President Datuk Yong Teck Lee, who had wished for state seats in Sabah to be left to it and Star.

The Usno group in attendance had brought up several issues including on protem Usno’s participation in the election and peculiar issues in the east-coast.

Abdulah Sani raised the issue of why the Senallang-based military personnel in Semporna are mostly voting in Bogaya (and not Senallang) as “early voters” or formerly known as postal voters.

Idrus pledged to look into it.

Idrus in his briefing among others explained that EC has cancelled the controversial three-day “cooling period” and also the objection period which normally runs from 10am to 11am after nomination is closed for public to object to any candidacy.

He also revealed that a new layout of positions of EC staff inside polling stations on polling day has been introduced for the first time so as to enable agents of candidates to have a clearer and comfortable view of what is going on inside polling station on that day.

Others in the entourage were Star Deputy Chairman, Dr Nicholas James Guntobon, Secretary Guandee Kohoi, Jalumin Bayogoh, Rubbin Guribah, Edward Linggu, Melanie Annol, Hasmin Azroy Abdullah, Jalibin Paidi, Martin Tommy, Maklin Masiau, and Usno leaders Datu Arifin Datu Abdul Salam, Abdillah Timbasal and two other division heads.