A long list of new and younger faces are expected to be fielded in the coming general election, reveal sources.
KOTA KINABALU September 14, 2012: Dozens of Sabah Barisan Nasional (BN) elected representatives are expected to be replaced by younger new faces in the coming general election.
According to sources, among those facing the axe are some 20 state assemblymen and a dozen more members of parliament mostly from Umno.
Insiders in the government and BN claimed that one deputy chief minister is set to be replaced while another deputy chief minister is set to relinquish one of his his two legislative posts.
“Almost all of them will be replaced by young leaders from the Youth wing, with only one or two exceptions to make way for a comeback of certain pivotal figures in Sabah’s politics,” said a source.
He said, however, that what is being announced by the party as an official wish-list now can be totally different as elections loom and “confirmed” candidates could become vulnerable.
“Certain political parties in Sabah BN, after learning that dropped popular figures may stab the new candidates, have deliberately written the names of incumbents as their party preference, but we know the mind of these leaders and their preferences can change just like that,” he said.
Asked if one of the parties he meant was PBS, he said: “Does PBS sound afraid to name or expose its new faces even in obvious areas that need fresh faces, choosing instead to keep incumbents as frontrunners?”
Sabah currently has 60 state representative and 25 MPs and Labuan has a single MP. The island’s current MP Yusof Mahal has been declared a bankrupt and is expected to be dropped.
Among the assembly representative speculated to be facing the exit are Umno’s Yahya Hussin (Petagas), Abdul Rahim Ismail (Pantai Manis), Karim Bujang (Bongawan), Hajiji Noor (Sulaman), Musbah Jamli (Tempasuk), Japlin Akim (Usukan), Syed Abbas Syed Ali (Balung), Saddi Abdul Rahman (Sukau) and Sairin Karno (Liawan).
Upko’s assemblyman for Kuala Penyu John Teo Mau Sang is the single most frequently mentioned name from the party to be replaced, while PBRS, which has only one MP and one assemblyman, will most likely maintain the status quo.
Little is heard from the LDP or even MCA which has only one state seat, Kepayan, but which has been quite a controversial topic as even MCA’s Penampang leadership, under which Kepayan comes, wanted a local as candidate for this time.
Umno reps to be dropped
Meanwhile, according to these insiders, MPs who will likely be dropped by Umno included Ghapur Salleh (Kalabakan), Bung Mokhtar Raden (Kinabatangan), Salleh Kalbi (Silam), Sapawi Ahmad (Sipitang) and Abdul Rahman Dahalan (Kota Belud).
Abdul Rahman, who is also Sabah BN secretary, however may be given a chance to stand in Tuaran or be put as a candidate for a state seat in the district. Semporna MP, Shafie Apdal, may also stand for a state seat instead to position himself for change within Sabah Umno.
Umno’s main ally in Sabah, PBS, on the surface is expected to retain its incumbent MPs with the exception of its own president, Joseph Pairin Kitingan, whom sources claimed has considered letting go his Keningau MP post to focus on being the Tambunan assemblyman.
Currently PBS has only three MPs, a stark contrast to 14 it had before Umno strengthened its hold of power in the state. PBS may get an additional seat this time or get to swap a seat or two with either Umno or Upko in the coming election.
Tuaran, won by former Upko deputy president Wilfred Bumburing, is now wih Pakatan Rakyat by virtue of Bumburing’s affiliation with it. Upko is now unsure it will be granted the seat to contest as its very own number two has handed it to the opposition.
Among the reasons Bumburing quit the party is that he will need to give way for the return of his predecessor, Madius Tangau, who withdrew to let Bumburing get Tuaran in the 2008 election.
A senior Umno leader, who requested anonymity, said the names of Umno Youth leaders are already on the list of candidates as replacements for the incumbents.
“Some of them are quite popular already. Those young candidates are mostly lawyers but there are also engineers and businessmen. They have been working on the ground in their areas for years and they are very capable people,” he said.
However, he said, intense lobbying by the incumbents can be expected especially in Umno areas where political-privilege is the rule.