KOTA KINABALU: The Opposition’s candidate for Sabah chief minister appears to be a contentious issue after Barisan Nasional chairman Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi warned leaders not to speak about the matter until the state election is concluded.
Zahid, in a fiery speech at Kampung Pasir Puteh on Tuesday (Sept 15) night, declared that the Barisan supreme council has decided that the candidate for chief minister should not be discussed until the Opposition wins the coming Sept 26 polls.
“If there’s luck, then we will negotiate. We will negotiate among the assemblymen (who won) and then only the chief minister will be chosen.
“But, remember, only the party with the most seats is the most qualified to have the chief minister (candidate), ” he said during his speech.
At present, Barisan is contesting 41 seats, Perikatan Nasional and friendly Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) is contesting 22 seats in the 16th state election.
Zahid was believed to be responding to the calls by Perikatan information chief Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali, who reiterated Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s endorsement of Sabah Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) Datuk Hajiji Noor to be chief minister if they win in the state polls.
Speaking to reporters when met at the sidelines of the ceramah, Zahid said the Opposition mustn’t be too confident in garnering victory in the state election.
“We cross the red line when we get 37 seats… on this matter, don’t be too confident, the rakyat will reject us. Most importantly, let us win first then we negotiate, ” he said.
“I hope this will be a new normal (in politics) for Sabah and this stand will be respected by everyone, ” he added.
However, his remarks appeared to have contradicted PAS deputy president Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man, who told reporters on the sidelines of the same event, that the candidate for Sabah chief minister should be decided by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
“Let’s wait for after the elections. PAS will leave it for the PM to decide, ” the PAS deputy president told reporters.
At present, the Opposition alliance is currently involved in multi-cornered fights in 17 state seats, where Sabah STAR under Perikatan, PBS and Barisan is set to clash.
The upcoming state polls will be a test on whether the state Opposition alliance consisting of Barisan, Perikatan and PBS is able to put on a united front.