KOTA KINABALU: A former oil palm executive has announced plans to contest as an independent in the May 11 Sandakan by-election while the main opposition parties are still keeping their plans under wrap.
The 46-year-old Chia Siew Yung said he wants to bring the "voice of the Sandakan people" to Parliament.
"I want to offer myself as independent to voice the views of the people without being obligated to any party," Chia told a news conference at a hotel in Sandakan Thursday (April 11).
The political unknown, who quit as a manager of a company he worked with for the last 22 years, said he had the support of five NGOs who have agreed to work for his victory in the elections.
One of the NGOs, Kebajikan Masyarakat Berbilang Kaum Sandakan, Sabah (Perkesas) chairman Mushe Zulkarnain, who was also at the press conference, said they believe in him and were ready to provide their support for Chia.
Perkesas claimed they had some 2,000 active members who are voters in the Sandakan parliamentary seat.
The seat was declared vacant following the death of its two-term MP Datuk Stephen Wong Tien Fatt on March 28.
So far, the main opposition parties Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS), Sabah MCA and Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) have yet to indicate if they are contesting.
Sabah Umno chairman Datuk Bung Mokthar Radin, who indicated that Umno was not going to contest the seat, wanted the opposition to come out with a single candidate for the party to support.
Sabah PAS and Sabah STAR have indicated interest in contesting the seat which has some 51% Chinese and 45% Muslim bumiputeras, with non-Muslim bumiputeras and other races making up the rest of the roughly 40,000 voters.
Election Commission has set April 27 for nominations.
Sabah DAP is widely tipped to field Wong's daughter Vivian as their choice of candidate.