Local parties STAR and SAPP are insignificant, says the local Chinese community.
TAWAU: Sabah caretaker Chief Minister Musa Aman’s bravado that Barisan Nasional will achieve a two-thirds majority in the state is getting the sniggers.
“He’s talking rubbish..,” said one businessman here alluding to a front-paged report yesterday which blared “BN will form the new govt – Musa”.
In the report Musa said: “I’ve gone all over Sabah… to Keningau, Tenom, Siptang, Beaufort, Sandakan, Beluran and many, many more. I could feel the people’s warmth, cheerful reception. Insyallah, we will win and form the government again.”
He was speaking at a gathering with the Chinese community here.
But the businessman from the same Chinese community, who declined to be named, today said: “If he travelled to these places, he’ll know that the people don’t want Umno and PBS (Parti Bersatu Sabah) anymore.
“We are not stupid… we can see, we can hear, we know what is going on.”
Musa’s enthusiasm is out of place in Tawau.
Of the 10 random people FMT spoke to, seven felt the opposition will do well and they were not talking about local parties State Reform Pary (STAR) and Sabah Progressive People’s Party (SAPP).
Most had never heard of STAR. SAPP fared a little better, probably because it has been around a lot longer and the Chinese community is familiar with its president Yong Teck Lee.
Tawau’s ethnic composition is about 60% Muslim-Bumiputeras and 40% Chinese. There’s also a smaller percentage of non-Muslim Bumiputeras.
The incumbent here is SAPP’s Dr Chua Soon Bui.
The Tawau parliamentary constituency also comprises two state seats – Apas and Balung. Both incidentally are also in trouble.
In the 2013 battle for the Tawau parliamentary seat, the current leading candidate appears to be PKR’s Kong Hong Ming.
BN vs Pakatan Rakyat
Kong is a well-known NCR (native customary rights) lawyer and a veteran politician who has been in politics since the early 1990s. He was once a state assemblyman and a state Cabinet minister under Barisan Nasional but was sacked for being a “dissenting voice”.
Kong has tried his luck in four elections. “I lost three and won one,” he said.
But the 2013 historic polls will likely see him in Parliament if the current voter momentum continues.
He is up against Chua, BN-PBS’s Mary Yap and an Independent Ahamad Awang.
“The 2008 polls was a mess… Pakatan Rakyat had no consensus on the seats and both PKR and DAP fought in Tawau.
“This time it is different… even the voters’ perspectives have changed since 2008.
‘They watched what happened in the Peninsula and Pakatan’s rise… so they are more confident with Pakatan now.
“Here in Sabah it is essentially a BN vs Pakatan fight,” he said.
Meanwhile, incumbent Chua has slammed her rivals for spinning tales that she is withdrawing from the seat.
“There’s a rumour that I am withdrawing. This is not true. People contesting should not use such dirty tactics.
“If this misleading rumour continues, I will ask the Election Commission to investigate the matter. We will also proceed to find this culprit who stooped so low,” she said after a walkabout here.
SAPP, she said, has been going around explaining to voters that only registered parties with a single majority could form the government in Sabah.