KOTA KINABALU: Parti Warisan Sabah (Warisan), Pakatan Harapan Sabah and Upko will be finalizing their list of candidates and seats distribution by next week.
According to Warisan president Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal, these were the issues discussed in the meeting between the party, Pakatan Harapan Sabah and Upko on Monday morning.
“Today we had a meeting with Upko president and leaders from Pakatan Harapan Sabah component parties, PKR, DAP and Amanah. The meeting was to discuss preparations for the coming state election and among issues discussed at length were about seats distribution and candidates.
“These are important issues that need to be finalised soon. I have asked them and I have reminded the parties’ leaders that it is not just about contesting but also winning the seats,” he told a press conference after the meeting.
He stressed the main criteria for candidates is loyalty to the cause of their parties they are championing.
“We will be looking into the individuals’ background, capability and ability but the main criteria is that we do not want a person who will ‘jump’. We can have a degree holder, a professional but if they switch allegiance the next day what is the point?
“For us the priority is that they must have loyalty to the current struggles,” he said.
Shafie said Warisan, Pakatan Harapan Sabah and Upko would present their list of seats and candidates and added that the matter could be resolved by next week.
When asked if Warisan would be contesting in most of the 73 seats, Shafie said that the matter would be looked into and he pointed out that Warisan, PH Sabah and Upko were cooperating and would continue to do so.
He pointed out that there was a need to also ensure that the candidate was winnable as there was no point in just winning a seat if the constituents had a problem with the candidate.
“It is the norm to demand and make requests when it comes to seats and choice of candidates but I reminded them that most important is winning the seat,” he stressed.
Shafie also spoke about the current situation and the reason why the State Assembly was dissolved.
“In the beginning we had the numbers but due to the pressure from the Federal, we did not want the situation to hamper the state’s administration and also our efforts to attract investors.
“We felt that it was important enough to submit an application to the Head of State who has the absolute power to dissolve the State Assembly. The Chief Minister does not have the power and by law, I can only advise.
“We went through the complete processes from getting the Head of State to sign the gazette and informing the Election Commission (EC). We now wait for the EC to announce the date and we are ready for election,” he said.
To the question if PH’s component party, Amanah would be allocated any seats this election, Shafie stressed that in the past Amanah was not given seats because it was a new party unlike PKR and DAP which had long established themselves in Sabah.
“But it all comes down to the voters and the voices from the grassroots say they want a local based party,” he said.
Members of Parliament would also be considered as candidates for the state election if they were winnable as the ultimate goal was to defeat Umno/BN, he said.
When asked if he would be defending his state seat Senallang, Shafie smiled but did not give an answer.