KOTA KINABALU (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Parti Warisan Sabah has formalised a pact with opposition coalition Pakatan Harapan (PH) in Sabah to take on ruling faction Barisan Nasional in Malaysia's upcoming general election.
Warisan president Mohd Shafie Apdal said the pact, which he will lead, is a "done deal".
He declined however to reveal how constituency seats will be allocated amongst the two. He was speaking to reporters after delivering his maiden presidential keynote address at Warisan's congress on Monday (April 2).
"As you are aware, Sabah Pakatan has agreed that I would lead the opposition coalition in the state," he said.
Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie, a former Cabinet minister and ex-vice-president of Umno, the dominant party in BN, also confirmed that Parti Cinta Sabah (PCS), led by Datuk Wilfred Bumburing, was no longer in the electoral pact.
Sabah is considered a safe deposit state for BN, which holds 21 of the state's 25 Parliamentary wards and 48 of the 60 state assembly seats.
Still, Sabah Barisan, led by Chief MinisterMusa Aman, faces opposition from a number of parties in the upcoming election, expected to be held within weeks.
Gabungan Sabah is a four-party opposition coalition with veteran political leaders such as Bingkor assemblyman Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan, Klias assemblyman Datuk Lajim Ukin and former chief minister Datuk Yong Teck Lee.
Another opposition pact is formed by PCS and Parti Kerjasama Anak Negeri, two parties based in non-Muslim areas which largely comprise the Kadazan-Dusun community.
Mr Bumburing was initially in talks to cooperate with Warisan last year, but left those to form a coalition between PCS and Anak Negeri led by Datuk Henrynus Amin.
Earlier at the press conference, Mr Shafie said that Warisan was not contesting in Peninsular Malaysia, but is ready to work with PH, without a pact, at the national level.
"We are a multi-racial party, we don't want to follow the Pakatan coalition style in Peninsular Malaysia. When they form the government in Putrajaya, we will have ministers in the federal cabinet from Warisan and the Warisan (Sabah state) government will also have ministers from Pakatan," Mr Shafie said.
Speaking to more then 5,000 party members at the assembly with the theme "In God We Trust, Change We Must," he urged all of them to prepare for the election.
Mr Mohd Shafie also said that those who were not selected as candidates should accept the decision and work to help topple the BN-led state government.