PBS deputy president Radin Malleh says the objective is for PN to win all seats.

KOTA KINABALU: A PBS leader said today the party tried to avoid electoral clashes with Perikatan Nasional (PN) component parties but its efforts were undone when their allies did not return the courtesy.

Deputy president Radin Malleh said PBS had taken every effort to avoid electoral clashes. “But we are also fully aware that it is difficult at times,” he said.

Malleh said that in the Tandek seat which had been assigned as a PBS seat, the STAR party had openly placed Anita Baranting to defend the seat. “Her proposer was the STAR division chief while the seconder was the division treasurer,” Malleh said in a statement here today.

Baranting is contesting the seat as an independent. In 2018, as an Umno member, she had been elected by a majority of 4,600 votes against candidates from Warisan, STAR and PCS.

PBS sprang a surprise today after fielding candidates in seven additional seats on top of the 15 it announced earlier, sparking further clashes between BN and PN parties.

In the initial 15 seats, PBS was set to contest a total of eight seats against BN parties versus Umno in Bengkoka, Tanjung Aru and Telupid, against PBRS in Matunggong, Tandek and Kadamaian, and against Sabah MCA in Kapayan and Karamunting.

Today, PBS issued a new list of candidates that had seven additional seats – Paginatan, Lumadan, Tambunan, Bingkor, Tulid, Moyog and Liawan.

In total, there will be clashes in 17 seats between BN, PN and PBS.

Malleh said PBS acknowledged the “friendly contests” between them and other PN-friendly parties in the 16th state election.

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“As conveyed to the PN leadership and the Sabah public, we have indicated that there would be friendly contests in some key constituencies where PBS’ grassroots position is strong, as proven in the past elections. But our mission is clear – we want to win all seats we are contesting.

“The matter was brought up for discussion in various meetings regarding seat allocations, and in the case of seat allocation carried out by BN secretary-general Annuar Musa forewarned that there would be overlapping of seats with other parties of the coalition,” he said.

Malleh, who is also contesting the Melalap seat, said in the 15 seats allocated to PBS, three seats were also contested by PBRS namely Matunggong, Tandek, and Kadamaian.

He added the Bengkoka and Melalap seats were also contested by Umno.

“Of course we took this in good faith that the contest would be carried out in a manner to strengthen the position of PN in Sabah. These were the basic aims as discussed in meetings with both PN and BN.

“Therefore, after undertaking a close and critical analysis of the Kadazan Dusun Murut (KDM) areas, and based on the requests of our grassroots, we decided to enter into friendly contests in the seats of Tulid and Paginatan which we had even announced much earlier; Moyog, Tambunan, Bingkor and Liawan.

“Coincidentally, these seats were those allocated to STAR. In the seat allocation meeting chaired by PN’s secretary-general Hamzah Zainudin, we had of course raised and appealed for our requests to contest in these seats, so it was not new.”

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Malleh further added that PBS decided, in response to the request of its Muslim grassroots, to enter into a friendly contest in the Lumadan seat, which is contested by Umno.

“Overall, we take this as a friendly contest. What is important is that a PN component wins all seats,” he stressed.

He said that aside from winning its seats allocated, PBS will also be fully committed to working with PN and its components in ensuring victory for all seats in other constituencies throughout the state.

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