The new president of Parti SETIA, Datuk Pg Othman Rauf, said the party has formed an opposition front with other Sabah-based opposition parties, namely Bersekutu and Pasok, in facing the Barisan Nasional (BN) in the March 8 general election. Pg Othman said the party’s supreme council had unanimously appointed him as the new president after the incumbent, Suhaidin Langkap, stepped down and proposed him to assume the post during a meeting here on Feb 12, this year. Parti Setia, Bersekutu and Pasok met on Feb 14 and reached an agreement to form a pact in facing the general election, he said yesterday. Pg Othman, who chaired the meeting, added the three parties had reached a consensus to contest in all the 60 state seats and in as many of the 25 parliamentary seats. “We have agreed to field one candidate from the opposition front in each of the state constituencies to represent the parties in the election,” he said. The former Federal and State minister, added during the meeting they also determined the direction and objective of their struggle in championing the rights of Sabahans, uphold justice and work closely together with the rest of the nation should the people elect them to power during the election. He lamented Sabahans are still lagging behind in various aspects than their counterparts in Peninsular Malaysia with the highest rate of poverty although the State’s administration has come under the Barisan Nasional (BN) for many years now. “Even the perennial illegal immigrant problem has not been overcome yet,” said Pg Othman who reckoned that Sabah should be governed by Sabah-based parties. In this regard, he urged that Peninsular-based parties not to contest for the state seats n the election as they have more than adequate state seats to contest in Peninsular Malaysia. “The Peninsular-based parties should respect the feelings of Malaysian citizens in Sabah and they should not be too greedy although they can contest anywhere they wish to. “As such, I would like to urge the voters here to support and give their votes to Sabah-based parties for the state seats in order to uphold political dignity,” Pg Othman added.