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SAPP buoyant about pact with Pakatan

SAPP and Jeffrey Kitingan-led STAR are expected to
discuss 'anytime now' on how they can cooperate
and put up one-to-one fights with BN.
KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) president Yong Teck Lee is optimistic about the ongoing negotiations on seat distribution and election preparations between his party and the Pakatan Rakyat coalition.

Yong said talks to work out a deal with local opposition parties that are not under Pakatan’s umbrella grouping had picked up momentum over the past month as general election looms.

He said he welcomed recent statements by PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim and deputy president Azmin Ali, which “clearly indicated that they had agreed with SAPP including the principle of burden sharing” (of difficult seats) in the 13th general election”.

The local opposition party has been asserting its legitimacy as a Sabah party vis-a-vis ‘peninsula-based’ opposition party branches in the state in demanding a greater share of seats.

Yong and party leaders have been pushing SAPP’s struggle for Sabah’s autonomy to claim entitlement to a majority of the 60 state seats. Such a deal would make them kingmakers in the next government of Sabah if they win in the coming election.

The SAPP leader, a former state chief minister under the Barisan Nasional’s unconventional but now revoked leadership rotation that granted the chief ministership to each of the three majority communities in the state, noted that SAPP would also be entering talks with the State Reform Party (STAR) Sabah “to fine-tune a couple of matters”.

STAR Sabah, spearheaded by maverick politician Jeffrey Kitingan, and SAPP are expected to discuss any time now how they can cooperate without stepping on each other’s toes to put up local candidates acceptable by both parties for one-on-one fights against BN candidates.

Yong said today was the last day for Parliament to be dissolved, if the government wanted to have the polls before Christmas.

“If not, it could be most probably in March next year, or possibly end of January in order for polling to be held one week before Chinese New Year on Feb 10,” he said.

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