Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) President Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan on Sunday refuted claims that Sook PBS divisional chief, Datuk Bernard Maraat, had threatened to stand as an independent candidate in the next election if not allowed to contest as a BN representative in the constituency.
“I was there (during the Sook’s AGM) and I never heard him (Maraat) say it,” he said, after attending the Hari Raya Open House hosted by Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Hajiji Noor at Dewan Bersatu here.
He also said that Maraat has never requested from him that he be given an opportunity to contest in the coming 13th general election.
He said disciplinary action would be taken against any Barisan Nasional (BN) member who stood as an independent candidate in the election.
He said whoever issued the statement (to the media) probably must have misheard or misquoted Maraat. According to him, during the AGM, Sook PBS did announce its membership increase, which is normal in any party.
Pairin, who is also Deputy Chief Minister, said it is up to the leadership to approve BN candidates for the election. He reminded that the Prime Minister only wanted winnable candidates.
Last Friday, Sook PBS youth chief, Kahirin Bador urged Pairin to take action against Maraat for issuing the ultimatum.
He alleged that Maraat had uttered the threat during the meeting during which Pairin and other PBS leaders were also present.
He further alleged that Maraat had demanded the Sook (PBRS) and Nabawan (Ukpo) state seats and Pensiangan (PBRS) parliamentary seat all be given to the PBS to contest in the election.
On other developments, Pairin said the proposal for the creation of more parliamentary and state seats should considered in actual context and not for the sake of having additional seats only.
He said the demand for the increase should be to enable development to be given more focus. He said there are constituencies in which there is only one MP and that due to the constituency size, it is difficult to take care of it.
“In retrospect, we must take into consideration the people’s needs so that development can be given more attention,” he said.
The additional seat also must be studied first and for it to be discussed in the BN for exchange of views.
Pairin said no in-depth research has been carried out on the matter and yet the people are already fighting for it.
The demand for the creation of more parliamentary and state seats has been ongoing since previously he said but that it must be carried out from a well-intentioned approach and not out of political emotion.
In fact, he said the timing should also be taken into consideration adding that there are many other factors for consideration.
“We have to bring to the table to discuss and look at the proposed boundary and population,” he said.
He said when a meeting is called for he would bring up the matter.
Sources: Daily Express