KOTA KINABALU: Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) has decided to skip the Parliamentary by-election for Batu Sapi, a seat traditionally belongs to the party in view of the worsening Covid-19 situation in the state.
PBS President Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili (pic) said the party’s Political Bureau in its meeting recently decided that it was in the best interest of public health in light of the worsening Covid-19 situation in Sabah.
“Sabah continues to record the highest number of Covid-19 positive cases in the country. Our numbers hit three digits in the last few days, where on Sunday alone, we recorded 702 new cases.
“And it was due to the severity of the Covid-19 situation that PBS decided to back out from contesting in our stronghold seat.
“As a multiracial party, PBS has continued to enjoy a strong following and huge membership in Batu Sapi,” Ongkili said.
The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Sabah and Sarawak Affairs) stressed that PBS is of the opinion that the safety of the Sandakan people and Batu Sapi voters should be the foremost consideration at this time.
Although it was not immediately known if other partners in the Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) will be contesting, Ongkili said he has informed Perikatan Nasional (PN) President and GRS Chief Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin that PBS will support and assist any eventual PN plus candidate and ensure a win in the Batu Sapi by-election.
The Batu Sapi parliamentary seat was declared vacant following the passing of Datuk Liew Vui Keong from Parti Warisan Sabah (Warisan) due to a lung infection on Oct 2.
PBS held the seat since its creation in 2004 through Datuk Edmund Chong Ket Wah until 2010 when he died in a motorcyle crash. The ensuing by-election was later won by his wife Datuk Linda Tsen.
However, Liew contesting under Warisan ticket won the seat in the 13th General Election (13GE) in 2014 and successfully defended it in the 14GE.
Following Liew’s demise, the Election Commission then declared Nov 23 as Nomination day, while Dec 1 was set for the early polls and Dec 5 for the by-election.-BorneoGazette