Sabah UMNO is eyeing for the opportunity to contest in several new state seats in the upcoming Sabah state election (PRN), said its liaison chairman Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin.
He said that there are areas including Sungai Manila in the Libaran parliamentary constituency which is also UMNO’s stronghold and hopes that the party will be given due consideration to field its candidate in meetings with other Barisan Nasional (BN) component parties and its allies such as PAS and Bersatu.
“With the increase in the number of state seats, there are areas which are UMNO strongholds including Sungai Manila. For sure UMNO has an advantage there if it is given the opportunity to contest,” he said when met by reporters after officiating the UMNO branch meeting at the Sungai Manila district polling centre near here last night.
In the 14th General Election, a total of 60 state seats were contested but in July last year, the Dewan Rakyat approved a motion to add 13 more state seats in Sabah bringing the total to 73 seats.
Apart from Sungai Manila in Libaran parliamentary constituency, other new state seats are Bengkoka in Kudat parliamentary constituency; Darau (Sepanggar); Limbahau (Papar); Telupid (Beluran); Lamag (Kinabatangan); Kukusan (Kalabakan); Bandau (Kota Marudu); Segama (Lahad Datu); Pintasan (Kota Belud); Tanjung Keramat (Putatan);, Pantai Dalit (Tuaran); and Tulid (Pensiangan).
Bung Moktar also said that UMNO will nominate 80 to 85 per cent new faces in the PRN and priority will be given to young candidates to give more space to young people to develop the country.
He also said that candidates have been identified from among those who can win and are accepted by the people, but not have been finalised as they have not discussed the matter with its allies yet.
“It is useless for us to demand a constituency if both our party and candidates are weak, but still insist to be people’s representatives there.
“That is why Sabah UMNO will submit data to support why we want to request for certain seats and who we will highlight as a candidate,” he said.
Asked if former chief minister Tan Sri Musa Aman, who is also the incumbent of the Sungai Sibuga state seat, had met with him about defending his seat, Bung Moktar said that there was no direct communications, but he was open to discuss.
On the judicial review filed by Musa and 32 other state assemblymen who are seeking the leave of the recent decision of Yang Dipertua Negeri Tun Juhar Mahiruddin to dissolve the Sabah state assembly, Bung Moktar said that the court decision would not affect efforts to strengthen the party machinery. — BERNAMA