TWEAKED..... The PBS president has incurred the wrath of his grassroot PBS leaders after it was leaked that the Najib-approved candidate list was tweaked at the 11th hour.
By : JOSEPH BINGKASAN
KOTA KINABALU: Within a day of the Barisan Nasional coalition members announcing their pick for the May 5 general election, questions are being raised about whether they were reading from BN chairman Najib Tun Razak’s script.
It does not appear so and cracks are beginning to appear in the alliance three days before nomination on April 20..
The Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) candidates announced by its president Joseph Pairin Kitingan yesterday was not the list finalised and approved by Najib and has caused some confusion in the party.
A party’s leader told FMT that the list of candidates given by Najib to all BN component party leaders in Kuala Lumpur on Monday was different from the list read out by Pairin in Donggongon yesterday.
“The changes might had been made during the PBS supreme council meeting in the morning before the announcement was made to the media in the afternoon,” a divisional leader said.
According to the PBS’ released list, the Inanam state seat will be defended by incumbent Johnny Goh, but this is contrary to the official list of coalition candidates.
According to that list, Joseph Paulus Lantip, an unknown in the party, has been given the green light to contest for the BN.
The party insider also disclosed that Pairin had declared incumbent assemblyman Joachim Gunsalam would defend the seat for the BN though the official list puts PBS secretary-general Henrynus Amin as the approved candidate.
Over in Kiulu, Sabah Journalist Association president Joniston Bangkuai, who has yet to resign from his job, is said to have been on Najib’s list but Pairin announced that incumbent Louis Rampas has been retained.
PBS in trouble
Telephone calls to Goh, Amin and Bangkuai for confirmation or comments went unanswered.
A check of Amin’s latest Facebook posting, however, indicated his anger at being left out of the PBS list of candidates.
The posting simply stated that “former secretary-general of Parti Bersatu Sabah” as his place of work.
An Inanam PBS divisional senior officer, when contacted, said Goh’s office was aware of the matter but the incumbent three-term assemblyman is hoping to file his nomination papers this weekend despite the BN leadership’s endorsement of Lantip.
“I am not confident that Lantip is a winnable candidate even though he might had been picked up by BN top leaders on recommendation by the state government’s think-tank IDS [Institute for Development Studies],” the officer said.
The officer said without the assistance of Goh, it would be an uphill task for Lantip to defend Inanam for BN against the Sabah Progressive Party’s (SAPP) deputy president Eric Majimbun, the incumbent MP for Sepanggar.
In the 2008 general election, Goh won the state seat with a 1,686-vote majority in a four-cornered contest.
Daniel John Jambun of PKR polled 4,293 votes, DAP’s Jeffrey Kumin (2,864) and Independent Clafence Chin lost his deposit polling just 196 votes.
Meanwhile, the PBS Sepanggar division is having an emergency meeting tonight to discuss the latest development in Inanam.
Inanam comes under the Sepanggar parliamentary constituency, together with the state seat of Karambunai.
The BN candidate for Sepanggar is new-comer Jumat Idris from Umno while incumbent Jainab Ahmad, also from Umno, is defending her Karambunai seat.