KOTA KINABALU: A mix of heavyweights and new faces from Gabungan Rakyat Sabah and Barisan Nasional will lead the charge to capture as much of the 25 parliamentary seats in Sabah.

Four state ministers including two deputy chief ministers are among seven assemblymen eyeing parliamentary seats.

Aside from Bugaya, the rest of Sabah’s state seats will not be contested as a state election was held in 2020.

For GE15, GRS and Barisan agreed to a seat-sharing plan, with GRS taking 13 seats while Barisan will contest in 12.

Also in this election, parties under GRS – Bersatu, Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS), Sabah STAR, Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) and Usno will have their candidates contest under the GRS logo instead of their respective party banner.

Bersatu is contesting in six seats, PBS (four), Sabah STAR (two) and SAPP (one) – all under GRS.

For parties under Barisan, namely Umno and Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (PBRS), they will contest under the coalition logo as per every election.

GRS-Barisan are also fielding nine new faces and seasoned grassroots leaders in their line-up.

Deputy chief ministers Datuk Seri Dr Jeffrey Kitingan, who is Sabah STAR president, will defend his Keningau seat while Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin, who is also state Barisan chief, will contest in Kinabatangan, a seat which he has held since 1999.

Also defending their seats are PBS president Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili in Kota Marudu and PBRS deputy president Datuk Arthur Kurup in Pensiangan under GRS and Barisan banner respectively.

Two state ministers from Umno will also be fielded – Datuk Shahelmey Yahya is the candidate for Putatan while Datuk Yakubah Khan will contest in Sepanggar.

Attempting a comeback is former federal minister Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan who was named as the Barisan candidate for the Kota Belud seat.

In GE14, Rahman, who was a two-term MP for Kota Belud, was moved to Sepanggar where he lost to Parti Warisan’s Datuk Aziz Jamman.

Other GRS candidates are incumbent Ranau MP Datuk Jonathan Yasin who will be defending his seat, Pitas assemblyman Datuk Seri Ruddy Awah who will have a go at the Kudat parliamentary seat, Kiulu assemblyman Datuk Joniston Bangkuai (Tuaran) and former Inanam assemblyman Kenny Chua (Penampang).

GRS will also be fielding Datuk Matbali Musah in Sipitang; Yee Tsai Yew, the daughter of PBS deputy president Datuk Seri Dr Yee Moh Chai, is contesting in Kota Kinabalu; Khairul Firdaus Akbarkhan (Batu Sapi) and Nixon Abdul Habi (Semporna).

The Chief Minister’s principal private secretary Datuk Armizan Mohd Ali is GRS candidate for Papar, while SAPP’s Thomas Lau Chee Keong will contest in Sandakan and PBS’s Lo Su Fui is the coalition candidate for Tawau.

Barisan’s Kimanis incumbent Datuk Mohamad Alamin will be defending his seat, while Datuk Suhaimi Nasir is the coalition’s choice for Libaran; Datuk Jamawi Jaafar (Tenom), Datuk Siti Aminah Aching (Beaufort), Datuk Maizatul Akmam Alwi (Lahad Datu) and Aslan Fadli Samsul Alang (Kalabakan).

The Beluran parliamentary seat held by GRS’s Datuk Seri Ronald Kiandee was not announced as GRS and Barisan are still discussing it.

For the Bugaya state seat by-election, Sabah Barisan will field Abd Aziz Mohd Ibno.

The candidates for GRS was announced by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor while the Sabah Barisan names were read out by Bung, who is the party’s state chairman.

In their speeches earlier, both leaders stressed to over 1,000 of their supporters on the importance of helping each other win.

Bung urged Sabah Barisan leaders and supporters not only to back their own candidates but also to support GRS candidates.

“Similarly with GRS, help Barisan candidates in areas which you are not contesting. Together between Barisan and GRS, we can win this (election) war,” he said.

Likewise, Hajiji rallied GRS supporters to help Barisan candidates and vice versa. “Today we reinforce our promise to fight together to ensure an excellent victory for GRS and Barisan,” he said.