KOTA KINABALU: The Tambunan state seat is expected to see interesting fight between three Kitingan brothers from different political parties in the 14th General Election (GE14).
The siblings showdown will involve Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) president and Tambunan incumbent assemblyman Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan, Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (Star) president Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan, and Crispin Kitingan of Parti Warisan Sabah (Warisan).
Seat war between the Kitingan brothers is not new as it has occurred in GE13, where Pairin and Jeffrey contested for the Keningau parliamentary seat. Pairin won the seat.
Speculation on the trio facing each other emerged following recent statement by Pairin, who is also Sabah deputy chief minister, that he might be fielded if needed by the top leadership and the grassroots.
Pairin in the past has expressed intention to quit from his political career to focus on spending time with family and other matters.
Jeffrey, when contacted, confirmed he would contest for the Keningau parliament and Tambunan state seats regardless of who else was fielded as his opponent, including his brother (Pairin).
"What is important at the moment is the struggle to demand the rights of Sabah. The question of who is the opponent is not a problem.
"Pairin has expressed intention to retire but if he remains contesting (for Keningau and Tambunan seats), it will not change my stance to contest the two seats," he said.
On Sunday, Pairin who has been the Tambunan representative since 1976 was reported saying he did not rule out the possibility of him continuing to serve despite his decision to retire.
Pairin said the final decision would only be known during nomination day on April 28 whether or not he would be fielded.
Meanwhile, Crispin has expressed disinterest in becoming a candidate but was nevertheless ready to take on the responsibility if required by Warisan top leadership.
"Personally, I respect and love my brothers. However, political struggle is not for family or individual but for the people’s interest.
"If there’s instruction for me to become a candidate, I will abide the decision made by the top leadership and (I am) ready to fight against my brothers if they are also contesting for Tambunan state seat," he said.
Apart from the Tambunan seat, Pairin and Jeffrey are also likely to fight for the Keningau parliament seat.
In the GE13, Pairin contested against Jeffrey for the first time in a three-corner fight and won the Keningau seat with a majority vote of 4,264. The other candidate was from PKR.
In the same election, Pairin also won Tambunan state seat, while Jeffrey won Bingkor state seat.
KEYWORDS: Tambunan, interesting fight, three Kitingan brothers, different political parties, Joseph Pairin, Jeffrey, Crispin