- Category: News (2017)
“Anything is possible,” Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan (pix) quipped when asked about growing political speculation that Sabah might go for early elections, as was done previously.
“It is all ... speculation, which makes it interesting but then everyone has been told to prepare,” said Pairin, who himself is retiring from politics at the end of this term.
He said this in apparent reference to Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman’s recent statement for leaders to go down to the ground and “work like as if elections was every day.”
Political talk in the state was that Musa was keen to hold state elections earlier as the Sabah Barisan Nasional was confident of winning more seats if it was not bogged down by national issues that allowed the Federal Opposition to make inroads in the last general election in 2013.
Some political circles are claiming that elections could be held as early as April if Barisan does not plan to use the 13 new seats which were carved out last year and expected to be tabled by Parliament in March. Sabah currently has 60 state seats.
Talking to reporters after attending a briefing on the third edition of the Tambunan Kaamatan Charity Run here Monday, Pairin, the Tambunan assemblyman and Keningau Member of Parliament, said that he himself was “99% sure” of not contesting as he earlier this month handed over the reigns of the Parti Bersatu Sabah presidency to his deputy Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili, who is now acting president.
“I want to give an opportunity to younger people. Sooner or later, people will have to retire and I am giving prior notice,” said the veteran Sabah politician who has not lost an election since he made his debut in the Tambunan seat in 1976.
He said things would be put in place for whoever will be replacing him in his two seats, in due course.
"I don't know what my next plan is, whether I'm going back to university, plant padi or rear buffaloes ... but I'm definitely going to spend time with my grandchildren," Pairin said.