27 October 2010

Battle line drawn, three-cornered contest in Batu Sapi by-election

SANDAKAN: As expected, the Batu Sapi by-election will see a three-cornered fight involving Barisan Nasional (BN), Sabah-based opposition party Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) and Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR).

BN’s Datin Linda Tsen Thau Lin of Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) is up against SAPP president Datuk Yong Teck Lee, who is a former Sabah chief minister, and PKR Tuaran division chief and prominent lawyer Ansari Abdullah.

The list of candidates was announced by returning officer Mohamad Hamsan Awang Supain, who is also Sandakan Municipal Council secretary, at the nomination centre, Sandakan Community Hall.

Mohamad Hamsan accepted the papers of all three candidates as there were no issues raised during the one-hour objection period.

Ansari was the first to arrive at the nomination centre and handed in his nomination papers at 9.08am, followed by Yong at 9.09am and Linda Tsen three minutes later.

About 1,000 supporters from all parties gathered in this coastal town since sunrise before going to the nomination centre.

They were shouting slogans but maintained discipline.

Earlier, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman led the BN supporters and Tsen to the nomination centre.

Also present were PBS president Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan, MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek, MIC president Datuk Seri S Samy Vellu, Gerakan president Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon, PPP president Datuk M Kayveas and other representatives of BN component parties.

The PKR camp was led by its president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Ismail, DAP deputy chairman Dr Tan Seng Giaw and PAS secretary-general Datuk Mustafa Ali, while Yong, the SAPP candidate, led a small group of supporters.

Tsen when later approached by reporters, pledged that if she is chosen, she would work hard and do her best to carry on the good work of BN.

Yong, meanwhile, praised the Election Commission for handling the nomination process smoothly.

“We thank the Election Commission and its officers for all the preparations made. There were no problems and no objections.

“As for our campaign, we will highlight issues such as unemployment, poverty, land, rising cost of goods and empty promises made (by the government)… We will change all that to return honour and autonomy to the people of Sabah through Batu Sapi,” he said.

Ansari said the Batu Sapi contest was a chance for PKR to have a member of parliament from Sabah, adding that his campaign would also focus on the issue of poverty of the Bumiputeras here.

He also claimed that SAPP is “not a real opposition party, but an ‘independent’ party”.

The Batu Sapi parliamentary seat fell vacant following the death of its incumbent and two-term MP, Datuk Edmund Chong, in a road accident on Oct 9.

Chong won the seat in the 2008 general election by a 3,708-vote majority, defeating independent candidate Dr Chung Kong Wing.

Chong polled 9,479 votes against Dr Chung’s 5,771.

He won the same seat in the 2004 general election unopposed.

Batu Sapi has 25,582 voters, of whom 24,047 are ordinary voters and 1,535 postal voters. Muslim Bumuiputeras comprise 15,099 or 59.02 per cent of the voters, non-Muslim Bumiputeras 689 (2.69 per cent), Chinese 9,737 (38.06 per cent) and others, 57 (0.22 per cent). — Bernama

Source : BorneoPost Online

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