SANDAKAN: It will be a crowded fighting field as three independents have confirmed contesting against DAP and Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) candidates for the Sandakan parliamentary seat.
The five candidates handed over their nomination papers at the SMJK Tiong Hua multipurpose hall, which is the nomination centre, between 9am to 10am on Saturday (April 27).
Besides DAP's Vivian Wong Shir Yee, 30, and Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) Datuk Linda Tsen Thau Lin, 63, the independents are former Sabah PAS chairman and former Sabah Parti Amanah Negara chairman Hamzah Abdullah, businessman Chia Siew Yung, 45 and former political worker Sulaiman Abdul Samat, 36.
The proposer for Vivian is her elder sister Larina Wong Shiao Yee, while the seconder is her other sister Benita Wong Shing yee.
Linda, who was proposed by Lim Lee Fong and seconded by Mohd Rizuan Mohd Damit, is being backed by various oppositions, including SAPP, STAR, Usno and Umno.
The five were also seen mingling together after registering their nomination and waiting for the official announcement.
Returning officer Mohamad Hamsan Awang Supain announced the names at 10.30am after the end of the nomination period.
Sabah Chief Minister and Parti Warisan Sabah president Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal was also present in support of Vivian.
Earlier, the supporters of various sides had to brave through the rain as they marched from their respective assembly points towards the nomination centre.
Sandakan, with about 40,000 voters, comprised 51% Chinese and 45% Muslim bumiputras, including Bajaus, Suluks and Sungai.
The rest of the electorate made up of Kadazandusun communities and others.
The by-election was triggered after two-term incumbent Stephen died of a heart attack following a hike on March 28.
In GE14, Stephen won the seat with a 10,098-vote majority.