KOTA KINABALU: Political leaders offered handshakes and Gong Xi Fa Cai greetings as they made their ritual Lunar New Year walkabout at the popular weekend Gaya Street fair here, yesterday.
In the eyes of the shoppers and business people, the presence of politicians from both the ruling Barisan Nasional and the opposition at the same time signalled the possibility that the general election may be around the corner.
Seen walking side by side were Parti Keadilan Nasional Sabah deputy chairman Christina Liew and the DAP’s Hiew Khing Cheu, the two defeated candidates in the Gaya by-election two years ago which was won by Barisan’s Liew Teck Chan.
“We happened to bump into each other. And since we both are in the opposition we decided to walk together. There is no political tone to it,” said Hiew, as he walked with Christina Liew to greet the shoppers and to distribute Chinese New Year cards.
Sabah Progressive Party president Datuk Yong Teck Lee and his men were at the party’s usual home base at a coffeeshop, mingling with the people and getting feedbacks amid the season’s greetings.
“The mood is friendly and calm. I don’t see a tense political atmosphere in the coming elections,” said Yong, who also strolled along other streets besides Gaya for his annual lunar New Year walkabout.
Sabah MCA Wanita chief Senator Datuk Agnes Shim and secretary Tan Kim Beng were seen with several hawkers and shoppers, listening to them and distributing greeting cards.
Parti Bersatu Sabah president Datuk Joseph Pairin Kitingan, who is now back in the Barisan fold, together with Chinese PBS leaders Dr Yee Moh Chai, Edward Yong and Samson Chin greeted and chatted with the crowd in the Hakka dialect.
Also not missing out were Liberal Democratic Party vice president Datuk Lee Chuan Wan and the party’s Wanita head, Senator Noami Chong.
The walkabout to mark the coming of the Year of the Monkey has taken a significant note as it comes at a time when the Sabah state assembly is scheduled to end within the next two to three months, to pave the way for a state election.