Othman Minuddin (in white t-shirt) is all smiles as STAR president Jeffrey Kitingan pins a STAR badge on his chest after joining the party on Sunday. (Facebook pic)

KOTA KINABALU: The rivalry between PBS and Perikatan Nasional ally STAR went up a notch after a veteran PBS division leader quit the party to join the latter due to a dispute over the Paginatan seat.

Paginatan PBS chief Othman Minuddin was said to be unhappy after the candidate he had proposed, the division’s deputy chief Juis Konsuling, was overlooked for the rural seat.

The party, which is facing STAR, BN and Upko, among others, in a nine-sided battle for the seat, has instead fielded Supreme Council member Arthur Sen.

STAR also has seat clashes with PBS in a host of other constituencies, including Moyog and Tambunan, besides placing independent candidates in Bengkoka, Tandek, Matunggong and Api-Api.

Photos of Othman joining STAR were posted on the Facebook account belonging to the party’s candidate for the seat, Abidin Madingkir, yesterday.

Meanwhile, a statement released by the Paginatan division vice-chief Faustian Thomas today said Othman was believed to have walked out of the party because his wishes were not met.

“We believe that he (Othman) and others who left for STAR with him were unhappy that Sen was fielded instead,” he said.

However, Faustian claimed that the decision to field Sen was made at a division meeting last month, which was chaired by Othman himself.

“During the meeting, Othman stressed that the division was keen to field a candidate in the election and would support any decision made by the party’s top leadership, with regard to the chosen candidate,” he said.

Prior to the state election, Othman had lobbied for the seat to be given to PBS, had even urged STAR to allow a clear passage for the party to contest the area.

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