After PBS “Betrayal”, Kitingan Says PN Is Backing Indie Incumbents

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Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (Star) president Jeffrey Kitingan confirmed that his party and Perikatan Nasional (PN) are backing Inanam incumbent Kenny Chua and a few assemblypersons who are contesting as independents in the Sept 26 election.

This means that by supporting Chua in Inanam, PN will go against Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS), the local party which is friendly to PN.

Geraldine Tong/Malaysiakini

Speaking to Malaysiakini, Kitingan said Chua did ask for support and help.

“Ya, he did ask me. There was an understanding that the incumbent will be given the chance to continue (to serve as an assemblyperson), so I support him lah,” Kitingan said when met at an event in Keningau this afternoon.

The Keningau MP also said that the current incumbent independents will have the chance to join PN once they manage to secure their seats.

However, Kitingan did not reveal the number of incumbents that PN is backing.

“Not all. Only a number of them,” he answered briefly when asked if all six independent incumbent assemblypersons will go back to PN once the election is over.

In July, Chua, who was the Sabah assistant finance minister at the time, defected from PKR to support a Musa Aman-led move against the Warisan-led state government.

Yesterday, The Star reported that at least two independents are now being “adopted” as candidates by Sabah Star.

Other than Chua, the Tandek incumbent Anita Baranting, who is defending her seat, reported that her proposer and seconder were Star’s Tandek division members.

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Anita, who crossed the floor last July won her seat in 2018 under a BN-PBS ticket and it should be noted that PBS has accused Kitingan’s party of giving its tacit backing to her candidacy.

Although Kitingan admitted that there were some independent candidates who sought his help, he said his party has nothing to do with Anita.

“There are some independent candidates who invited me to help, for example, like Bengkoka. But she (Anita) has nothing to do with me. She is an independent (candidate),” he stressed.

Despite the proposer and seconder for Anita being from Star, Kitingan said he only realised the matter after the nomination.

“I do not know the news. It’s nothing to do with the party,” he said, adding that his division leaders may just be helping Anita in their personal capacity.

During nomination day, BN and PBS reneged on Thursday’s negotiated agreement and fielded more candidates than originally announced, raising the number of seat clashes between them from 11 to 17.

The only coalition that kept its word was PN, which had promised to contest 29 seats in the Sabah election and did exactly that during the nomination process.

Chua and Anita were among 14 state lawmakers who joined a group of opposition lawmakers led by former chief minister Musa Aman and Kitingan who attempted to oust the Warisan-led state government via a political coup.

The group of 33 claimed to have the numbers to form a new government, but the plot was scuttled because incumbent chief minister Shafie Apdal succeeded in convincing governor Juhar Mahiruddin to dissolve the legislative assembly, paving the way for snap polls. – Malaysiakini