By : FMT STAFF
KOTA KINABALU: Caretaker Chief Minister Musa Aman is facing a five-way challenge for his Sungai Sibuga seat. Challenging his incumbency are PKR’s Irwan Syah Mustafa, SAPP’s AM Jaffar, STAR’s Mohd Rosalan Yussof and an Independent Mohd Arshad Abdul.
In the 2008 general election, Musa retained the seat with a very comfortable majority.
Another state seat expected to see an intense fight is Kunak. Six candidates are vying for it. They are Barisan Nasional incumbent Nilwan Kabang who is defending it against Kasman Karate (PAS), Valentine @ Rengers Sebastian (STAR) and three Independents Abd Sattal Shafiee, Hussein Ibnu Hassan and Sharif Shamsuddin Sharif Sagar.
In the east coast stretch, which has come under ESSCOM security zone, a major political war is building up.
In the Tungku state constituency, home to Kampung Tanduo where the Sulu incursion took place in February, BN incumbent Mohd Suhaili Said is facing a five-cornered fight involving Shuaib Mutalib (SAPP), Johani Abd Halim (PKR), Johan Nul (STAR) and Independent Tsen Yun Fah @ Mohd Azlan Tsen Abdullah.
It is learnt that Sulabayan, Bugaya and Senallang state seats are seeing seven, six and five-way fights respectively.
In the Lahad Datu state seat, BN’s Yusuf Apdal, younger brother to Umno vice-president and Semporna incumbent Shafie Apdal, is facing Aliandu Enjil from SAPP.
Other contenders for the seat are Hamid Awong @ Abdul Hamid Awong (PKR) and Independent Ariffin bin Hamid @ Alfa Hamid.
Meanwhile, in the Semporna parliamentary constituency, Shafie is in a three-cornered fight.
Facing him is Independent candidate Datu Badaruddin Harun. He is the son of Sabah’s first chief minister Tun Mustapha Harun who was responsible for allowing Umno’s entry into Sabah in 1991. The third candidate is PKR’s Dr Zamree Mohd Suffian Abdul Habi.
Kalabakan parliamentary constituency incumbent Ghapur Salleh is also facing a seven-cornered battle. He is facing candidates from PKR, STAR and independents.
Confirmations from the Election Commission are very slow here. Nominations ended at 10am.
An irate local media editor said that the time lag did not speak well of the EC’s “huge” human resource pool and communications technology.
Tough fight for Liew in Sandakan
Meanwhile it looks set to be a straight fight in Sandakan this time, paving for a fierce fight in the predominantly Chinese seat in the eastern Sabah.
Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) president VK Liew who is also a deputy minister in the Prime Minister Department, is being challenged by DAP businessman Wong Kien Tat.
Political pundits already seeing an uphill task for incumbent Liew to retain the seat which he won in the 2008 general election “by-default” due to a split in opposition votes then.
In 2008 the urbane Sandakan seat saw a three cornered fight between lawyer Liew, DAP’s Shanty Chong, a former magistrate and an independent candidate Fong Fun Vui.
The combined popular votes for the two opposition candidates outnumbered Liew’s but because of the split, Liew won it.
Chong challenged the results in court but dropped the case half-way through. Liew went on to be as a federal deputy minister.
Liew polled in 8,297 votes against Chong’s 8,121, while Fong chalked up 2,929 votes.
So far, as information from the state SPR trickled in, no other straight fights are reported in Sabah.
Many of the tussles in the 60 state seats and 25 parliamentary seats in Sabah involved four cornered and five cornered fights.
The Kota Belud parliamentary seat will see a five cornered fight.
Scores of independent candidates had also filed in their nomination papers. At stake in Sabah are 25 parliamentary seats and 60 state seats.
There are also no uncontested wins this time. In the 2008 election Sabah contributed two parliamentary seats — Kalabakan and Pensiangan — and a state seat of Bugaya, to the federal BN’s ‘coffers’.
Parties contesting for seats in Sabah in this general election, touted to be one of the fiercest fights, are the ruling BN, opposition Pakatan Rakyat comprising DAP, PKR and PAS and the two local-based parties, State Reform Party (STAR) and Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP).