KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 12 — Parti Bersatu Sabah said its allies in Gabungan Rakyat Sabah should not be surprised with their clashes in several seats for the state election, insisting that it has been forthright about its intentions.
In remarks that contradicted Perikatan Nasional chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin who said earlier today that the coalition would be united, PBS deputy president Datuk Seri Radin Malleh said his party has been consistent about where it was adamant about contesting.
After nomination concluded this morning, PBS put itself on a collision course with GRS parties in 17 seats, up from 11 that had been in dispute yesterday.
“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,” Radin said in a statement.
“But our mission is clear: we want to win all seats we are contesting.”
Muhyiddin announced this morning the GRS name for the loose coalition that comprised PN, Barisan Nasional and Sabah Opposition parties such as PBS.
Muhyiddin, the prime minister, also asserted that the allied parties had reached a consensus on the seats they would contest for the state election.
However, PBS broke the truce almost as soon as Muhyiddin announced it.
This evening, Radin asserted that PBS negotiated in “good faith” with GRS allies but circumstances required it to field candidates in the 17 seats contested by other parties nominally on the same side.
“We have done every effort to avoid collision with PN component parties that may be detrimental to our position, but we are also fully aware that it is difficult at times.”
Muhyiddin flew into Sabah early Friday and met with party leaders, during which he advised them to resolve their differences.
The clashes have shown the challenging GRS coalition to be in disarray as the incumbent Warisan Plus group consisting of Parti Warisan Sabah, Pakatan Harapan, and Upko avoided going up against each other in any of the 73 seats.
Voting for the Sabah election is on September 26.