Sandakan polls during fasting month not an issue for government, opposition parties


KOTA KINABALU: Both government and opposition parties are comfortable with the May 11 date set for the Sandakan by-election even though it would be during the fasting month.

Sabah DAP secretary Chan Fong Hin said that at least seven to eight days of the 14-day campaign from nomination day on April 27 would be during the fasting month and they expect to adjust their campaigning during this period.

"We are okay with the dates," he said when contacted Friday (April 5).

The by-election was triggered after two-term incumbent and state Health and Well-being Minister Datuk Stephen Wong Tien Fatt died of a heart attack following a hike at an adventure park in Putatan near here on March 28.

Sabah Progressive Party president Datuk Yong Teck Lee, Liberal Democratic Party president Datuk Chin Su Phin and Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) president Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili said the dates were not a problem.

Yong said the dates fixed for nomination and polling are within the norm for a by-election.

"The fasting month starts on or about May 5. But this should not be a problem as we have had elections during the fasting month before in Sabah," he said.

Apart from PAS declaring that they were interested in contesting, the opposition parties have yet to indicate if they were going to contests the seat with about 40,000 voters made up of about 51% Chinese and 48% Muslim bumiputras.

Yong said Gabungan Sabah chairman Datuk Mohd Noor Mansoor, would be calling a meeting soon on whether the coalition would field a candidate and related matters. SAPP is one of the four components of Gabungan Sabah.

"We hope there will be only one local party contesting against a Peninsular Malaysia-based party (DAP)," he said.

LDP president Chin said that their supreme council will decide next week if they are going to contest the seat. LDP fielded a candidate under Barisan Nasional in the last general election.

Ongkili said that they would be going to Sandakan this weekend to study the ground and the people's feelings before they decide.

Sabah MCA has yet to indicate if they would be contesting the seat.

De facto Sabah Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia chief Datuk Hajiji Mohd Noor said that they would be supporting the Pakatan Harapan candidate for Sandakan.