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PBS won't accept suggestion to 'lend' Matunggong seat to Umno

KOTA KINABALU: Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) will not accept Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi's suggestion to "lend" the Matunggong state seat in Kota Marudu to Umno.

The Deputy Prime Minister proposed that Barisan Nasional component party leaders in Kota Marudu consider accepting the "formula" as a way of securing victory with a bigger majority in the constituency. Deputy PBS president Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili (pic) said his party will "definitely" not accept the suggestion to lend the seat to Umno, as Matunggong has always been a traditional PBS seat.

"His suggestion goes against the decision by the Sabah Barisan leadership to allow component parties to defend their allocated seats, considering there would not be additional seats to contest. "Therefore, the allocated seat quota for PBS should be honoured and any suggested changes should be discussed fairly with the Barisan federal and state chairmen," he said in a Facebook post on Monday.

The Matunggong seat is currently held by Datuk Jelani Hamdan, who won on a PKR ticket in 2013, defeating Sarapin Magana of PBS with a small majority of 320.

Dr Ongkili, who is Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister, said the matter will be discussed in the PBS Supreme Council meeting.

"We hope that the results of the discussion and the views taken by our President and Supreme Council members will be respected.

"We need to reach a mutual agreement to honour the Barisan seat allocation quota, and work together to improve the winnability of selected candidates," he wrote.

Dr Ahmad Zahid said the Kadazandusun-Murut-majority Kota Marudu, held by five-term MP Ongkili, was only won with a razor-thin majority of 842 votes.

He also said Jelani, will now assist Barisan candidates in securing victory for the Matunggong seat.

After winning on a PKR ticket in the last elections, Jelani has been known as a "Barisan-friendly" independent politician, after a failed bid to join Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah in late 2013.

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