KOTA KINABALU: Tensions are emerging in the Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS)-Barisan Nasional relations in the Beluran seat where renegade Datuk Seri Ronald Kiandee (pic) is drawing support from Sabah STAR, a GRS component party.
During campaigning at Kampung Lidong, Telupid on Wednesday (Nov 9), Kiandee, who is contesting the east coast Sabah seat under a Perikatan Nasional ticket, also received support from Parti Kesejahteraan Demokratik Masyarakat (KDM), which has applied to join GRS.
During an earlier event at Kampung Bintang Mas in Telupid, the United Sabah National Organisation (Usno) Sugut division chief Jamin Sabu was also present to show his support to Kiandee, who is also Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) vice-president.
Sabah STAR’s Telupid division chief Justina Udilis, Labuk division chief Dolusim Podosian as well as Telupid KDM division chief Pinus Gondili turned up at the event in Kampung Lidong in support for Kiandee.
The leaders threw their backing for Kiandee based on the incumbent’s good track record as well as his efforts to develop Beluran and looking after the people’s welfare there, particularly when he was the Federal Agriculture and Food Industry Minister.
“His (Kiandee) struggles are very relevant at this time and he must be allowed to continue with his plans,” said Justina.
“If he is no more the elected representative, it will be difficult for someone new to start all over again,” she added.
Having been a five-term Beluran MP, she said it was already known that Kiandee was in the best position to develop the constituency.
“Hence, he needs to remain (as the MP) and must be supported to continue his efforts,” she said.
Justina said although Sabah STAR was part of GRS at the state-level, the party was also a component of Perikatan at the national level.
“That’s why we at Sabah STAR are supporting Kiandee’s campaign,” she added.
Kiandee’s move to contest Beluran under Perikatan has come under fire as the seat was allocated to Sabah Barisan under the GRS-Barisan seat sharing pact.
“It is personal for Sabah Umno; we will fight tooth and nail to win back our traditional seat,” its chief Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin said previously after Kiandee broke the pact.
Barisan has named Sandakan Municipal Council president Benedict Asmat as its candidate for the seat.
Pinus said the KDM divisions in Telupid and Beluran will back Kiandee, adding the latter was an experienced leader.
“I’m worried that if someone else replaces him, we will lose a minister (in the federal Cabinet) and other benefits that come with it for the constituency,” he said.
Besides Bersatu, Sabah STAR and Usno, the other two GRS component parties are Parti Bersatu Sabah and Sabah Progressive Party.