KOTA KINABALU: Parti Warisan Sabah and its state-level Pakatan Harapan partners will do their best to put a stop to the coalition's losing streak in the upcoming Sandakan by-election.
Sabah Chief Minister and Warisan president Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal (pic) said it has been established among the partners that a DAP candidate would contest the parliamentary seat, which became vacant after the death of former Sandakan MP and state DAP chairman Stephen Wong Tien Fatt.
"I have discussed with DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng about what needs to be done.
"We will work hard to get votes from the Sandakan constituents and to ensure that they are with us.
"We have to continue working side by side with the people, even if we are facing some constraints in terms of providing job and business opportunities because it's not easy," he told reporters after launching the Borneo Textile Craft Festival at the Suria Sabah shopping centre here on Sunday (April 14).
Mohd Shafie said the ruling coalition must not be arrogant in its approach to the upcoming polls, and instead tailor its strategies in accordance with the different needs of each areas of the district.
"We are doing our level best to create jobs and opportunities for the people in Sabah. I have to admit that currently, we are not at our desired level but with time, we will increase investments in our state.
"We have to understand that the economic challenges and debts that we are facing right now were inherited from the previous government, but we are doing our best to overcome them.
"It will take some time. This is what we need to remind the voters in Sandakan. Like in any election, it would not be an easy struggle, but we will work hard and stay by the voters' side," he added.
Mohd Shafie said they would be announcing their candidate when the time is right.
It is shaping up to be a crowded field for the Sandakan by-election on May 11. The Election Commission has set April 27 for nominations.
Sabah PAS and Sabah STAR have indicated interest in contesting the seat which has some 51% Chinese and 45% Muslim bumiputras, with non-Muslim bumiputras and other races making up the rest of the roughly 40,000 voters.
Former oil palm executive Chia Siew Yung and ex-Sabah Parti Amanah Negara chairman Hamzah Abdullah have announced their interests to contest as independents.
Rumours are abound that activist Jufazli Shi Ahmad will also enter the field as an independent candidate.
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 DAP is widely tipped to field Wong's daughter Vivian as their choice of candidate.
Barisan Nasional pulled off a hat-trick by winning three by-elections back to back with Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan clinching the Rantau state seat in the latest polls.