KOTA KINABALU: For the first time in 16 years, Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) will contest under its own logo in the upcoming snap election in Sabah.
Its information chief, Datuk Joniston Bangkuai, was confident that PBS, dubbed the ‘sleeping giant’, would rise again in the state election.
Established in 1985, PBS had won four state elections in 1985, 1986, 1990 and 1994 under its own logo, a symbol of handshake.
In 2002, the party rejoined Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition and had contested using the BN logo for the 2004, 2009, 2013 and 2018 general elections.
Joniston said the people, especially those above the age of 50, were excited that the ‘jabat tangan’ (handshake) symbol, would once again appear on ballot papers.
“Many people view PBS as a sleeping giant. We will roar in this state election,” he said.
Joniston, who is also the incumbent Kiulu assemblyman, said PBS would field candidates for state seats which the party could potentially win.
He said the party was neither a component party in Perikatan Nasional (PN) nor BN.
“We are free. It is up to us. We are not tied up with any other parties.”
Joniston said PBS aimed to win many seats in order to be a ‘dominant partner’ in the formation of state government.
“We want to be a major player or key partner in the formation of the state government,” he said.
He said the party would convene for a meeting today (Aug 3) to decide the number of seats to contest and cooperation with other parties.
He said PBS would work with parties who shared the same struggles.
Joniston also urged the opposition bloc to sit down and discuss about working together for the state election.
Although PBS has yet to decide which parties to team up with, he said the party would support any parties that shared the same aspirations and struggles.
He added the opposition bloc had common political enemies, namely Warisan, Upko, Democratic Action Party (DAP) and Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR).
“If we have common enemies, why must we fight among ourselves?
“I hope sensibility will prevail,” he said.
On the number of seats to contest, Joniston said the matter would be decided in the meeting today, but there was a possibility that the party would contest in more than half of the 73 state seats.
PBS contested 13 state seats in the 14th General Election (GE14) and won six. However, two of its assemblymen, Anita Baranting (Tandek) and Abdul Rahman Kongkawang (Labuk) defected to Parti Warisan Sabah (Warisan). The duo recently switched their allegiance to former chief minister Tan Sri Musa Aman in the political coup against the Warisan-led state government.
Joniston said PBS could field candidates for any state seats as the party was multiracial.
He added that there would be a good mix of veteran and young leaders in the snap election.
Joniston said PBS was the longest surviving political party in Sabah which always had state assemblymen or members of parliament (MPs) since its inception in 1985.
“There are other parties that are still around, but they do not have MP or state assemblyman.
“Many regard PBS as a sleeping giant. It is time for us to rise,” he said.