MALAYA.....With STAR scaling back in Kuamut constituency, it will be a “fight between two Malaya-based parties” .
By : JOSEPH BINGKASAN
KOTA KINABALU: Bickering within the State Reform Party (STAR) has resulted in the party’s popular candidate for Kuamut to withdraw from contesting in the coming general election.
James Aik’s (left) candidacy was on April 4 endorsed after a majority of the party divisional leaders and grassroots members supported him over another leader Edward Podot to take on Barisan Nasional incumbent assemblyman Masuing Banah of Upko.
However, after he was chosen to contest, a group of leaders staged a campaign against his candidacy resulting in the party selection committee to seek a solution to avoid the problem spiraling out of control.
“I was selected a candidate after a year of assessment by the party’s leadership,” Aik posted in the Facebook account after receiving more than 200 text messages asking for clarification on his candidacy in Kuamut.
He added that many of the party’s members were frustrated about the change of candidates which he said would be inviting disaster for STAR in the constituency.
Sensing that the situation was affecting the party’s chances in the election, Aik together with other STAR’s Kinabatangan leaders were on April 7 summoned by the party’s candidate selection committee for a meeting to resolve the matter.
After a lengthy deliberation, it was decided that it would be best for STAR not to field a candidate in Kuamut.
The party will only be contesting in Kinabatangan parliamentary constituency which also comprises the state seat of Sukau.
Although Aik is appealing the decision, he will support STAR’s bid to contest in Kinabatangan and Sukau.
But he is also aware that by supporting STAR’s bid, he may not be nominated to contest in Kuamut as urged by the majority the party’s members in this rural constituency.
BN-PKR straight fight
With STAR opting out of contesting Kuamut, it will now be a straight fight between PKR and Barisan Nasional, a battle which Aik described as a “fight between two Malaya-based parties”.
STAR headed by Jeffrey Kitingan is going into the election on its platform of pursuing the state opposition’s Borneo Agenda of restoring Sabah’s economic and political autonomy.
The party’s strategy is themed as a Borneo Agenda versus the Malaya Agenda meaning vote for Pakatan Rakyat or Barisan Nasional will be voting for Malaya Agenda while voting for STAR will be voting for the Borneo Agenda.
In the 2008 election BN’s Banah won with 3,784 votes in a five-cornered contest. However the opposition pooled over 3,500 votes.
The PKR candidate Abdul Razak Jamil garnered 1, 143 votes, Jusing Sabran of DAP polled 105 votes and the two independents Mustapha Tambayung and Duing Bintarang garnered 2,112 votes and 206 votes respectively.
Jeffrey is scheduled to announce his party’s candidates this week. He held a meeting with the party’s potential candidates here on Sunday.
STAR is expected to put up candidates in about 40 state and 15 parliamentary constituencies. (FMT)