KOTA KINABALU: Fresh faces and strategic candidate deployment are part of Barisan Nasional’s game plan to retake seats lost in 2013.
The main thrust of the candidate line-up is to reclaim the 12 state and three parliamentary seats lost in GE13 with special focus on Semporna, where Umno renegade Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal has been building his state base with Parti Warisan Sabah.
A mix of 15 new faces, 10 women and veterans who have swapped seats with others bowing out were among the highlights of the candidate list for the 60 state and 25 parliamentary seats announced by Chief Minister Tan Sri Musa Aman, who is Sabah Barisan chairman.
Semporna will see two of Shafie’s cousins – Datuk Seri Nasir Tun Sakaran and Datuk Razak Tun Sakaran – fielded in the Senallang and Bugaya state seats respectively.
Datuk Ramlee Marhaban has been moved from Bugaya to take on five-term Semporna MP Shafie, who is also expected to contest one of the three state seats there.
Sabah Umno Youth chief Yamani Hafez Musa, 41, will be fielded in the Sipitang federal seat, replacing Datuk Sapawi Ahmad, who is moving to the state seat of Sindumin.
Barisan’s Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) has roped in former DAP member Dr Joseph Lee Han Kyun to stand in the Opposition party’s stronghold of Kota Kinabalu.
Retiring Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah president Tan Sri Joseph Kurup has stepped aside to make way for his son and party deputy Arthur Kurup to contest the Pensiangan parliamentary seat.
PBS president Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan has also ended speculation on his retirement by confirming that he will defend his Tambunan state seat and hand the Keningau parliamentary seat to his brother-in-law Datuk Daniel Kinsik.
Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak will move from his Usukan state seat to the federal seat of Kota Belud, while its incumbent Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan will go to Sepanggar, replacing Umno’s suspended Datuk Jumat Idris.
Among the federal ministers retained in the Sabah Barisan line-up are Foreign Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman in Kimanis; Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili in Kota Marudu; and Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Seri Madius Tangau in Tuaran.
Deputy Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mary Yap Kain Ching will defend Tawau against Sabah Pakatan Harapan chairman and Sabah PKR chief Christina Liew.
Musa, who is defending his Sungai Sibuga state seat, has urged Barisan members to trust in the leadership and accept the selected candidates.
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