KOTA KINABALU: The Kadazandusun heartland of Penampang will see multi-cornered fights in the constituency, but the candidates have pledged to keep things friendly.
All eyes will be on the showdown between incumbent Penampang MP Darell Leiking of Parti Warisan Sabah and Barisan Nasional newcomer Ceasar Mandela Malakun.
Leiking will defend the federal seat which he won on a PKR ticket in GE13 after beating then Upko president Tan Sri Bernard Dompok.
Upko candidate Mandela, 27, and Leiking, 44, both from Kampung Limbanak, Penampang, said they would remain civil.
“He is my brother,” said Mandela of his cousin, Leiking.
Calling Penampang a “rock” where everyone is related, Leiking said political rivalry would not harm their family ties.
“In politics, of course, we oppose each other. But the family stays intact. That has never been an issue.
“What bonds us at the end of the day is that we are together good times and bad,” he said.
The cousins will face former Kapayan assemblyman Dr Edwin Bosi who left DAP to join Parti Kerjasama Anak Negeri, and Sabah STAR’s Cleftus Stephen Spine.
Cleftus, a businessman, is also related to Mandela and Leiking.
Sabah MCA deputy chairman Datuk Francis Goh will contest the Kapayan state seat against DAP’s Jannie Lasimbang and STAR’s Chong Pit Fah.
First-time candidate Goh said he trusts that voters will exercise wisdom in choosing the best candidate to serve them.
“I worked so hard over the past four years, unlike a certain politician from the Opposition who, upon winning the election, could not be found when he was most needed by his constituents,” he said in an apparent reference to Bosi.
Moyog will see a four-way fight involving Upko’s Datuk Donald Peter Mojuntin, Warisan’s Jennifer Lasimbang, Parti Cinta Sabah’s Dennis Tunding and STAR’s Aloysius Danim.
Penampang, which includes the Moyog and Kapayan state seats, has some 53,000 voters comprising mainly Kadazandusun, with a substantial number of Chinese voters on the Kapayan side.