TURN.... Is Sabah Deputy Chief Minister Peter Pang seeing the consequence of his 2010 decision to turn his back on LDP and its President V.K Liew?
By : FMT STAFF
SANDAKAN: The biggest loser in the battle between the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman for three years has turned out to be Peter Pang, the assemblyman for Karamunting.
Pang quit LDP in 2010 to throw his support behind Musa who came under attack from the Barisan Nasional coalition member for his autocratic administration and prejudicial treatment of the small party.
It now appears that Pang has been sacrificed for BN unity as the 13th general election looms.
LDP has confirmed it will be defending the Karamunting state seat in the coming election on May 5 and the Pang family may still get to represent the constituency through incumbent’s nephew, Charles Pang, who is widely tipped to be the party’s candidate for the seat he vacates.
The younger Pang is LDP president Liew Vui Keong’s head liaison officer at the Sandakan MP’s office.
The Karamunting assemblyman has only himself to blame for being sidelined by the ruling coalition leadership in the high-stakes electioneering in Sabah.
Pang was the DCM when he was still with LDP. After he quit LDP the DCM post went to PBS’ Dr Yee Moh Chai.
His departure from the party was a surprise as prior to his defection to peninsula-based Gerakan in support of Musa, Pang had widely praised Liew during a party congress for giving him the chance to represent the party.
Liew, the incumbent Sandakan MP, said the ruling coalition leadership has decided that the seat would be given back to the party after Pang quit and joined Gerakan, giving the peninsula party an unprecedented three assembly seats without having contested in the last election.
Liew told reporters that BN chairman, Najib Tun Razak, was expected to announce the list of candidates today, five days before nomination day on Saturday.
The party is confident of retaining all three of its state assembly seats and the Sandakan parliamentary constituency it won in the last general election. The other state seats it holds are Tanjung Kapor in Kudat and Merotai in Tawau.
“Not only for Karamunting but all LDP candidates who will contest in GE13 have the potential to win for the party and BN,” said Liew after presenting 1Malaysia notebooks to 61 Ujian Penilaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR) top scorers from 10 Chinese national-type schools at Che Siang Khor Uplifting Society in Sim-Sim here on Saturday.
Liew said his party had been preparing for the election and “our operation rooms” had been ready since last year.
“The preparation for Sandakan is turning out well with the cooperation from Elopura and Tanjung Papat BN machineries.
“We have been working together collectively and I am sure we can retain the BN seats,” he said.
Liew assured more development in his constituency if BN were given the mandate to rule again.
However, independent observers have noted that the once predominantly Chinese Sandakan parliamentary constituency is now considered “mixed”.
“The population of Muslim Bumiputeras and I suspect voters have now more or less equalled that of the Chinese,” said a local businessman who requested anonymity.
He was among few businessmen who lamented the slowdown of Sandakan’s economy, once the powerhouse of the state, that was fueled by the timber boom of the 1970s and 80s and supplanted by the rapidly expanding oil palm industry.
However, while the industry continues to putter along, palm oil prices have dropped and the spin offs from the industry have yet to raise the economic profile of the now sleepy east coast town.
Its famed seafood restaurants that dot the coast were largely empty during the evenings and taxi drivers who did a brisk business ferrying non-residents around spoke of difficulties making ends meet.
“Wait and see, wait and see is what they tell us (about the economy picking up). Sekarang I see only let them wait,” said Aziz, a taxi driver. (FMT)