KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Pakatan Harapan will decide on its partners for the state election only after the dissolution of the Sabah state assembly, says Datuk Christina Liew.

The Sabah Pakatan chief stated that the current priority is to work with the existing component parties in the unity government until the dissolution, which is due in October next year.

“Of course, we have an idea, but right now, we work with the component parties in the unity government,” she told reporters after an event on Thursday (June 27).

“We are not in consultation or considering anyone or any party now. It will come when the state assembly is dissolved.

“Only then will we sit down and seriously evaluate our situation and decide on that, but always in consultation with our headquarters in Kuala Lumpur.

“We have to work with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who is the unity government head and Pakatan chairman, to see what would be best for Sabah’s interests,” Liew added.

The state Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister pointed out that all options were on the table regarding Sabah Pakatan’s election partners.

“So far, everybody is a potential partner, but I would say at this moment it’s too premature to say.

“Of course, we will look at different factors when we decide who our political partners will be when the time comes,” Liew said.

The Sabah government, which includes Sabah Pakatan, is currently spearheaded by the Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) coalition led by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor.

GRS information chief Datuk Joniston Bangkuai said in May that GRS would stick with Sabah Pakatan as their partner and reject overtures by peninsula-based Bersatu and Pejuang to work with them in the next state election.

Bangkuai added that Sabahans were confident in the GRS-Pakatan partnership in governing the state.

The Sabah government also labels itself as a unity government, comprising GRS, Sabah Pakatan and several Umno representatives, which are part of the federal unity government.

However, the situation in Sabah is not as straightforward as in the peninsula.

While Parti Warisan, led by Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal, and Parti KDM, led by Datuk Peter Anthony, are part of the federal unity government, they are considered the Opposition in the state, alongside a faction in Sabah Umno led by Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin.