KOTA KINABALU: Upko wants to be given the opportunity to contest the Sepanggar parliamentary seat in the forthcoming 13th general election.
Upko Sepanggar chief Datuk Steven Kutai said the division unanimously decided to stake a claim on the Sepanggar seat during a meeting last month.
“Our claim on the seat based on the Barisan Nasional (BN) power sharing concept was endorsed by more than 5,000 Upko Sepanggar members,” he said in a statement yesterday.
Kutai said the division’s resolution has been conveyed to the party’s leadership for approval.
“Upko Sepanggar leadership respects the voice of the people for us to represent Sepanggar parliamentary seat, and we are hopeful of an approval from the party’s leadership,” he added.
On the possibility that Upko Sepanggar’s decision would likely create tension among BN component parties in the area, Kutai expressed confidence that the coalition is mature enough in dealing with such a matter.
“Like other BN component parties, we’re stating the wish of all Upko members in Sepanggar. What’s important is that after a decision is made on the party to contest the seat, all the coalition members will be united to ensure the victory of the candidate.
“That’s what Upko has been doing all this while to make sure Sepanggar will continue to be represented by the ruling party,” he said.
Meanwhile, Kutai said the divisional committee is thankful to the 188 new members who joined Upko during its recent triennial general meeting in Kokol.
He said the division is also now processing many more new membership applications from the constituency to join the party.
The BN won the Sepanggar seat in the last general election in 2008 through Datuk Eric Majimbun of Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP), which has since left the coalition to become an opposition party.
Sepanggar is made up of two state seats, namely Inanam which is represented by Datuk Johnny Goh of Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) and Karambunai by Datuk Jainah Ahmad of Umno.
Recently, a few BN component parties, including PBS also laid their claim to contest the Sepanggar seat.