Kota Marudu Member of Parliament

Speculations aplenty that Musa will opt for early polls in Sabah

KOTA KINABALU: Speculation is rife that Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman is planning to go for early state polls instead of holding it at the same time as the general election.

Asked about the rumour, Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan said: “Anything is possible”.

Pairin, who himself is retiring from politics at the end of this term, said the speculation came about because Sabah had previously held its state election apart from the national polls.

“It is all subject to speculation, which makes it interesting. But then, everyone has been told to prepare,” he said in reference to Musa’s recent call for leaders to go down to the ground and “work as if the election was every day”.

The political talk is that Musa is keen to take Sabah into early polls because the state Barisan Nasional is confident of winning more seats without being bogged down by national issues which gave the Opposition an edge in the last general election.

Some political circles are already claiming that state polls could be held as early as April if Barisan does not want to use the new 13 seats carved out under the delineation exercise last year and which is expected to be tabled in Parliament in March.

Sabah currently has 60 state seats.

Pairin, the Tambunan assemblyman and Keningau MP, said he himself was 99% sure of not contesting, having handed the reins of Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) over to his deputy, Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili.

“I want to give the opportunity to the 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 Tambunan in 1976.

Pairin, however, gave an assurance that things would be put in place on who would be replacing him in his two seats.