KOTA KINABALU: Parti Bersatu Sabah is looking at contesting 30 seats using its own “handshake” symbol in the soon-to-be-called state elections following the dissolution of the assembly on Thursday (July 30).
The party’s deputy president Datuk Radin Malleh said they were in the process of finalising its list of candidates for the election where some 73 seats will be up for grabs.
He said a thorough analysis of the party’s strength and support in all the 73 state constituencies indicates that PBS has a strong potential of winning 30 seats.
"We are only planning to contest in 30 seats because we want to be reasonable, realistic and practical," Radin said after chairing the party’s political bureau meeting on Tuesday (Aug 4).
A good number of new faces, including women, are among those being considered as the party’s flag-bearers in the election, he said.
He said PBS has also set up pro-tem divisional committee in the 13 new state seats that have been gazetted for the coming state election.
PBS is currently an ally of the Perikatan Nasional government with its president Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili made a federal minister in charge of Sabah and Sarawak Affairs.
“PBS have been quietly working very hard and we are confident we have what it takes to win many seats in the election, ” Radin said, adding that multi-racial PBS is the longest surviving local political party in Sabah that once ruled the state government from 1985 to 1994 both when it was part of Barisan Nasional and as the Opposition.
It joined the Sabah Barisan coalition government in 2000 and left after Sabah Barisan lost the government in the 2018 general election.
Radin said that the party had 61 divisions all over the state including Labuan with more than 2,000 active branches.
PBS president Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili, who is still recuperating from ailments brought on by extreme exhaustion, has tasked Radin to lead PBS’ preparation for the election.
Radin said being a multiracial party, PBS is capable of winning any seat it contested, be it in non-Muslim bumiputera, Muslim bumiputera or Chinese majority constituency.
PBS ally Sabah Bersatu is keen to contests 45 seats while the Sabah Umno-led Sabah Barisan said that they were open to discussions on seat-sharing with the state’s opposition parties aligned with them.