Opposition parties undecided on contesting Sandakan by-election

KOTA KINABALU: Key Sabah opposition parties are keeping the guessing game on if they are planning to contest the May 11 Sandakan parliamentary by-election.

It is learnt that independents and Sabah PAS are also showing interest to take the plunge for the seat.

Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) has decided to give way to DAP in view of the services that were provided by the late MP Datuk Stephen Wong Tien Fatt, who died on March 28.

“As a sign of respect to Wong and his family, LDP has decided not to field a candidate for the Sandakan by-election,” LDP president Datuk Chin Su Phin said yesterday, adding that the decision was made by the presidential council recently.

Other key parties, including Sabah MCA, Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS), Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) and Parti Solidariti Tanah Air Ku (Sabah STAR), might field a single candidate to take on DAP.

DAP is likely to field the late Wong’s youngest daughter Vivian, 30, as the by-election candidate.

Although Sabah STAR named economist Jenny Liew as its potential candidate, the party was still in discussion with other opposition parties on a suitable candidate for the seat, widely seen as a Sabah DAP stronghold.

“Sabah STAR has declared a candidate, but they also told us that it is not final because they are in talks with PBS,” said SAPP president Datuk Yong Teck Lee.

SAPP, Sabah STAR and two other local parties come under the Gabungan Sabah (GS) alliance.

But Sabah STAR is also with the Gabungan Bersatu Sabah (GBS) alliance that includes PBS.

“Things are blurred by the fact of STAR is also posturing as GBS, not only as GS. So, SAPP has given everyone in GS and GBS until Wednesday, April 17, before SAPP makes a final stand,” said Yong.

Sabah MCA has yet to indicate its interest to contest. But it is understood that party officials are in discussion with senior party leaders in Kuala Lumpur.

Sabah Umno chairman Datuk Bung Moktar Radin, who said the party would not contest, has called on fellow opposition parties to come out with a single candidate to take on DAP.

The Election Commission has set April 27 for nomination.


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