Kota Kinabalu 18/04/2013: It appears that the opposition is headed for a free-for-all where Sabah is concerned in the 13th General Election on May 5 with PKR declaring it will contest 19 Parliament and 43 State seats, respectively.
With Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) announcing it would contest eight Parliament seats and 41 State seats and Sarawak-based Star making known theirs today, the stage seems set for multi-cornered fights which may guarantee victory for the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition which is fielding candidates in all the 25 Parliament and 60 State seats.
This is despite the tacit understanding that SAPP and Pakatan component DAP seem to have struck in some seats, particularly the urban Chinese ones.
"In the MP and State seats not contested by SAPP, we will support the strongest opposition candidate who can beat the BN candidate," said SAPP President Datuk Seri Yong Teck Lee when he announced the party's candidates at Kepayan Commercial Centre, Wednesday.
Sabah PKR leader Ahmad Tamrin told a press conference at the party's headquarters in Petaling Jaya that the party, together with its allies APS and PPS, aims to make the "land below the wind" a "frontline state" that will deliver the seats needed to install a Pakatan Rakyat federal government.
PPS and APS are NGOs set up by former BN leaders, Datuk Seri Lajim Ukin and Datuk Wilfred Bumburing, who defected to become pro-PR independents last year.
SAPP and Star which had initially planned to work together with the peninsula-based opposition bloc but the idea met a dead-end after seat allocations talks between the three collapsed. Tamrin admitted that the prospect of multi-cornered fights is there.
"I am in no position to speak on their behalf but yes there is a possibility," he said.
The ruling coalition swept the state in Election 2008, with the DAP winning only the Kota Kinabalu federal seat and the Sri Tanjong state seat.
In 2008, Sabah and Sarawak became the ruling coalition's saving grace when it gave BN the majority it needed to form the government on a simple majority.
BN had only won three seats more than its rivals in mainland Malaysia.
Meanwhile, Yong said he would be contesting in the Likas state seat replacing incumbent Deputy President Datuk Liew Teck Chan. SAPP is leaving the Kota Kinabalu Parliament seat to DAP to square off with the Barisan Nasional (BN) represented by Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS).
DAP is fielding its Sabah DAP Chief, Jimmy Wong who is also the former Sri Tanjung Assemblyman in Kota Kinabalu replacing Hiew King Cheu who will now stand in the Luyang state seat.
For Api-Api, SAPP is fielding Datuk Wong Yit Ming, while incumbent Assemblywoman Melanie Chia is set to defend her Luyang seat.
In another tactical move, incumbent Sepanggar MP, Datuk Eric Majimbun will not be defending the seat but, instead, go for the Inanam state seat.
Contesting for SAPP for the Sepanggar MP seat is its Vice President Don Chin Hon Kiong. SAPP Sec-Gen. Datuk Richard Yong will be contesting in Tanjung Aru while Information Chief Chong Pit Fah will stand in Kepayan while Youth Chief, Edward Dagul will contest in Kawang.
Another Deputy President, Amde Sidek is contesting in Sindumin while his colleague Datuk Frankie Chong, the former State Deputy Speaker will stand in Sook.
For the Parliament seat, Datuk Chua Soon Bui will defend Tawau, while treasurer-general, Duli @ Duli Mari will be contesting in Putatan.
The rest of the SAPP MP candidates are Robert Mojurip Diyun (Kudat), Dr Yuntau K Kolod (Kota Marudu), Jamil William (Kimanis), Kamis Daming (Sipitang) and Jimmy Jawatah (Tenom).
Other SAPP candidates for the State seats are Jae-ly Medong (Banggi), Tsen Heng Cheong @ Peter Tsen (Tg Kapor), Johanes Piut (Pitas), Richard Jiun (Matunggong), Yapolai Kundapit @ Henry (Tandek), Abdul Malik Mohed (Tempasuk), Peter Marajin (Kadamaian), Stephen Gaimin (Tamparuli), Tindil Gonsobil @ Sidin (Kiulu), Aziz Ibrahim (Karambunai), Danin @ Aloysius Siap (Moyog), Noraizal Mohd Noor (Pantai Manis), Awang Talip Awang Bagul (Bongawan), Banjimin Ondoi (Membakut), Mohd Sanusi Taripin (Klias), Jamain Sarudin (Lumadan), Japiril Suhaiman (Kundasang), Pauket Yadiloh @ Johari Tahir (Liawan), Roger Stimin (Melalap), William Ensor Tingkalor (Kemabong), Awang @ Abdul Nasib Othman (Sekong), Yong Vui Min (Karamunting), Liau Fook Kong (Elopura), Yong Chie Man @ Yu Chie Man (Tg Papat), Dato Shuaib Dato Mutalib (Lahad Datu), Aliandu Enjil (Lahad Datu), Abdul Hamid @ Amit Mohammad Noor (Balung), Tahir Dahli (Apas) and Yong Chong Kim (Sri Tanjung).
Yong said the remaining three seats would be announced soon pending a firm and clear picture of what Star and other opposition parties plan to do.
"Our aim is that the BN must be defeated. We did not expect that the infighting between PKR/PAS/DAP to be so intensely divisive to the extent the chances of the opposition in capturing the state seats concerned are now jeopardised.
"If we had known earlier that disarray within Pakatan would be so crippling, we would have made preparations to contest more state seats. We will reveal these seats in the next one or two days after we have a final outcome of the infighting between PKR/PAS/DAP," he said.
"Under the Constitution of Sabah, only a political party with a majority of seats in the Sabah Legislative Assembly shall form the Sabah Government. Unregistered parties and unregistered coalition of parties and NGOs are not qualified under the law to be elected as governments.
"Fulfilling our struggle for autonomy, SAPP will contest a majority of State seats so that the Sabah government will be elected by the people of Sabah and answerable only to the people of Sabah.
"SAPP believes that the BN government can be toppled through the ballot box at both the State and Federal levels. Unlike Pakatan whose leaders have already conceded Sabah to the BN, SAPP believes that the Sabah BN government can be voted out on May 5.
"This has happened a few times in Sabah's 50-year political history and can happen again on May 5," he said.
Meanwhile, DAP Sec-Gen Lim Guan Eng said taking over from Sabah DAP Chief Jimmy Wong in Sri Tanjung would be Sabah DAP publicity secretary, Chan Foong Hin.
Incumbent Sabah DAP adviser, Hiew King Cheu, would contest the Luyang State seat while Sabah DAP Secretary, Dr Edwin Bosi would be contesting in Kepayan and Youth leader Wong Hong Jun better known as Junz Wong in Likas.
DAP's MP candidates are Jeffrey Kumin (Sepanggar), Jimmy Wong (Kota Kinabalu), Lee Han Kyun @ Joseph Lee (Putatan) and Wong Tien Fatt @ Wong Nyuk Foh (Sandakan).
For the State seats the party will be fielding Wong Hong Jun (Likas), Hiew King Cheu (Luyang), Edwin Bosi (Kapayan), Noorita Sual (Melalap), Chong Ket Kiun (Karamunting), Hiew Vun Zin (Elopura), Poon Ming Fung (Tanjong Papat) and Chan Foong Hin (Sri Tanjung).