KOTA BELUD : Journalist-activist Kanul Gindol, 47, who is vying for Kota Belud parliamentary seat is the only Christian candidate in the five-cornered tussle for the hot seat.
Local observers said this situation might pose 'hiccups' in the attempts by all three parties contesting - Barisan Nasional, PKR as wells as STAR - to get the already-agitated Christian voters in the area.
Worried most are BN and PKR, with STAR already going around to explain why a muslim had been picked instead for Kota Belud after the party earlier picked another muslim candidate, Majimis Timbuong, for the adjacent Kota Marudu parliamentary seat, an overwhelmingly Christian area.
Kota Belud has 51,467 voters, the fourth largest parliamentary seat after Sepanggar, Silam and Tawau in term of number of voters, has a 50-50 muslim - Christian electors.
Already, according to observers in Kota Belud, the muslim voters were split between BN-UMNO and PR-PKR-PAS with most Iranuns in Tempasuk could be again voting for PKR.
It is an open secret too that the Iranuns were greatly dissatisfied with BN after none from the community had been picked to stand in any of the seats in this district.
To add salt to BN's wound, Independent Lamsil would further split traditional BN votes for Abdul Rahman, who from Tuaran, is some times unfairly cast as outsider even by his own colleagues within the Kota Belud BN circle.
All the other candidates for Kota Belud are muslims.
They are incumbent Abdul Rahman Dahlan of BN, Isnaraissah Munirah Majilis of PKR, Jalumin Bayogoh of STAR and another Independent, Lamsil Hamidsor, formerly of UMNO.
Munirah, through her mother, is a cousin of local UMNO leader Salleh Said Keruak, who is vying for the Usukan state seat. Lamsil too is said to be related to Salleh.
Kanul, an independent candidate using "key" as symbol in this election meanwhile said while the fact that he is the only Christian candidate for Kota Belud seat, does matter to many, he sees himself as the best alternative for a complete change and overhaul in the district's political landscape.
"Many in Kota Belud are fed up with promises after promises years in years out, with pivotal figures always busily putting up their own cronies and proxies, minding little on the needs of better infrastructures, a fairer power-sharing formula, and the dignity of Sabahans," he said.
"I have great respect to all the other four candidates, and i know, alone, right now i am trailing well behind them in every aspects. God-willing, this would change as change for the better is what the people wanted," he added in his very first statement after being confirmed a candidate yesterday.