By THE BORNEOTODAY TEAM
KOTA KINABALU – It is the people of Sabah who are going to vote and if they are determined for a change in government, they are the ones who have to be united.
That is the most crucial part of any elections, Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal said on Saturday, adding that many have got it wrong that the (opposition) parties are the one that will determine who forms the next government.
“No it is the people who will cast their vote and decide which party they want and if they are united in their choice, then that party that the give their full backing will win,” Shafie, the president of Parti Warisan Sabah told reporters after a walkabout at the Lido vegetable market here.
“In life, we need to have a partner to produce results and the biggest partner we have (right now) is the people of Sabah.”
Giving the strongest hint yet since its registration late last year, that Warisan may not join the opposition coalition called Gabungan Sabah, Shafie pointed out that his party can stand alone.
Later an aide said Warisan could contest in all 73 State seats (provided the 13 new seats are approved and added to the existing 60) if it wished too, but the leadership is taking into consideration various matters first.
Shafie has so far remained non-committal on whether his party will work together with other opposition parties in Sabah in the 14th general election, though he was quick to stress that Warisan is “open to discussions.”
“Yes, the offer is there but you have to work, and that is what we are working first. There is no point of us saying that we want to share (power) but we are not doing anything to fight for the people.
“We cannot be talking of which seat is mine or which is yours. I cannot be making demands (for Penampang or the Likas seats), I have to know the strengths (of the party) first.
“We must not use the reason of wanting seats to unite. In our minds it must be to defeat BN first then we talk about things like policies because we do not want to be in the dark about the policies of the other opposition parties be it local or peninsular based,” he stressed.
Shafie reminded the big political field of some 21 political parties that the enemy here is the BN, and it is the ruling coalition that needs to be toppled.
The Semporna lawmaker said at its ongoing roadshows (Jelajah Warisan) the chief aim was to explain to the people what the party stood for and “for them to know us and to trust us.”
“That is the way forward, we can do it, we can deliver. We have the experience, we can stand alone (if necessary) to run this state,” he added.
Asked if he’s worried about a disunited opposition and multi-cornered fights that would give the BN the edge, Shafie said if the people have made up their mind to vote for just one opposition party, then it would not matter much.
He was also of the opinion that power-sharing between the opposition parties must be done properly and that there should be no ‘jumping’ between parties after the election.
He pointed out Sabah’s (political) history has much to tell and much bitterness.
“It does not matter that we lost (in the election) but we have our dignity and we do not sell out to others. We have our morals and dignity,” he added.
When asked to comment on Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) chairman, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s statement that the federal opposition will use a single symbol and avoid fielding multiple candidates for each seat in GE14, Shafie replied:
“We have no dealings with them. That is perhaps for the parties in Peninsular Malaysia.
“Warisan will however support them because they too are working to topple BN, but that is all.”
Accompanying Shafie was deputy president, Darell Leiking, vice president, Junz Wong and secretary-general Loretto Sipin Padua, Youth chief, Dato Aziz Jamman and other grassroots leaders.