KOTA KINABALU: Parti Solidariti Tanahairku (STARSABAH) has decided to withdraw from contesting in the coming Sandakan Parliamentary by-election, and leave the battle to be fought by fellow opposition outfit Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS).
Party President Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan confirmed this on Monday, saying the decision was made after a series of discussion with Gabungan Bersatu Sabah parties, including with PBS President Datuk Seri Maximus Ongkili.
“I confirm that we won’t be contesting in the by-election so to give way to our partner in Gabungan Bersatu, that is Parti Bersatu Sabah,” he said.
He said STARSABAH’s Tg Papat division chief, Liew Wean Chee, who was announced earlier this month as the party’s candidate in the by-election, has been informed about the decision and accepted it.
When naming the 50-year-old economist as its candidate at the time, STARSABAH Secretary-General Guandee Kohoi had said the party intended to participate in the by-election and believed it had a strong change to wrest the seat from the ruling Pakatan Harapan.
He had also appealed to fellow parties in the pact to let it contest. But apparently, as Dr Jeffrey has confirmed, further discussions led to STARSABAH’s decision to withdraw.
“Nevertheless, we will be campaigning and supporting PBS during the by-election,” he said.
Liew, in the meantime, said she respected the decision and appealed to her supporters not to be discouraged and vote for the GBS candidate.
“I will help PBS during the campaign to ensure victory for GBS,” she pledged.
Meanwhile, PBS has confirmed it will contest in the May 11 by-election with Maximus reportedly saying the party decided to do so based the demands of the grassroots in Sandakan.
He said the party was still screening its list of candidates.-pr/BNN