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'Fat hopes if any Sabah opposition party goes solo'
Published on: Sunday, January 14, 2018

Kota Kinabalu: Datuk Lajim Ukin (pic) said it will be foolish for any opposition party to think it can form the next Sabah Government when elections are called soon without reaching any mutual understanding among them.

"It is vital for the opposition to be united," said the Parti Harapan Rakyat Sabah President, when asked about the possibility of the opposition replacing the State Government.

"Parti Cina Sabah headed by Datuk Wilfred Bumburing and Parti Warisan Sabah of Datuk Shafie Apdal, for example, will not be able to form the next state government without co-operation of the other opposition parties," said Lajim, who is State opposition leader.

He said the huge crowds attending Warisan events do not mean that the party enjoys overwhelming support from the people.

"There is no guarantee the crowd will translate into votes for the organiser... same scenario goes to Barisan National (BN) political functions" he stressed.

He also predicted that newly-minted Parti Kerjasama Anak Negeri Sabah headed by Datuk Hendrynus Amin would perform poorly. "I am looking at 50-50 chance for BN and opposition candidates to win in the state seats while the opposition has better edge in the parliamentary race this time around," Lajim opined.

He said Parti Harapan "will field 26 highly qualified candidates" for state seats and also target 14 parliamentary slots.

He said considering the importance of G-14 "we will do our utmost to secure no less than 15 state seats and another 9 parliamentary seats, although we are aiming bigger number as planned."

He would be defending his Klias State seat and hopes to secure the Beaufort parliamentary seat.

"With the coalition of Parti Harapan, DAP, Star and SAPP the chances of our group forming the next government is higher."

Lajim also said his party members are less bothered on the exact date of the poll, but expects it to be held only be held after Hari Raya and not March as widely rumoured.

"I strongly believe the BN administration will not dare conduct the election soon after the Chinese New Year celebration...the BN people still got to do lots of preparations to achieve their desired goals," Lajim said.

He also said G-14 would not be an easy ride for the ruling BN government headed by Prime Minister Datuk Najib Razak and Tan Sri Musa Aman as Chief Minister.

One their part, he said all the party presidents under his Gabungan Sabah alliance are willing to compromise on seat distribution.

"There are only a few seats left for us to negotiate," he said at the Gabungan Sabah Sepanggar machinery launch and the closing of the polling and counting agent (Paca) course, at the Taman Putrajaya hall, Telipok, here, Saturday.

"We are aware that if we keep on fighting over the seat distribution, eventually we will be at the losing end.

"What matters most is to form the government first," he said. He represented Gabungan Sabah Chairman Datuk Mohd Noor Mansoor who was admitted to hospital for treatment.

Gabungan Sabah, the main State-based opposition coalition, brings together four political parties – Solidariti Tanah Airku (Star), Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP), Parti Perpaduan Rakyat Sabah (PPRS) and Lajim's Harapan Rakyat.

"No matter when it will be conducted, Gabungan Sabah should be ready," he said, adding the Paca course was part of the coalition's election preparation.

Lajim said Pacas would play an important role during the voting process.

"You cannot keep quiet…if you see any wrongdoing in the polling centres.

"Pacas must study and know the rules so that they could protest if they see any misconduct.

"They should also know about the latest method by certain quarters that could affect the voting process or its result."

He also stressed the importance of selecting Pacas who are sincere in carrying out their duties.

"In previous elections, there are many instances where many Pacas did not turn up at their stations.

"If our Pacas chose not to be present, then Barisan Nasional's (BN) agents will be able to do everything freely as it is known that BN will use all its resources and channels during elections.

Also present were SAPP president Datuk Seri Yong Teck Lee, Star deputy president Jalumin Bayogoh, PPRS deputy president Mohd Ashraf Chin Abdullah, and other leaders from all four parties. - Nikko Fabian and Ricardo Unto

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