Verbal spat between candidates lights up quiet day


SANDAKAN: A verbal spat broke out between candidates vying for the Sandakan parliamentary seat as they conducted their walkabouts on the third day of campaigning.

DAP candidate Vivian Wong is facing attacks from political foes following a function where she helped to clean up a Muslim cemetery, which was dubbed as a “gimmick”.Amid a social media storm over her picture cleaning up a Muslim cemetery on the second day of the campaign, Wong looked apologetic at a press conference at the party’s Sandakan headquarters and said that she would be more cautious.The 30-year-old daughter of the late Sandakan MP Datuk Stephen Wong said she was following the footsteps of her father who was always involved in gotong royong with the Muslim bumiputra communities in the constituency.

Independent candidate Hamzah Abdullah has accused her pulling a political stunt to win Muslim bumiputra votes.

Parti Bersatu Sabah’s (PBS) candidate Datuk Linda Tsen is working hard to shore up her credentials as a former MP for neighbouring Batu Sapi seat.

Tsen sidestepped the cemetery is­­sue and wished Wong “all the best”.

But PBS deputy president Datuk Dr Yee Moh Chai called the excuse by DAP “a joke”.

Tsen, meanwhile, was caught up with attacks from Parti Warisan Sabah chairman Datuk V.K. Liew, who accused her of doing “no­thing” and never speaking in Parlia­ment during her two terms as Batu Sapi MP.The widow, who took over the seat from her husband in 2010 after he died in a motorcycle accident, told Liew to get his facts right instead of stooping so low to make unsubstantiated accusations.

“I have spoken more than 16 times in Parliament. He (Liew) should check his facts before he speaks,” she said as she listed over 200 projects undertaken using MP funds and more than 25 major projects pushed by her in the Batu Sapi area during her term as MP for eight years and four months.

“I want to ask Liew what has he done for Batu Sapi in the past 11 months,” Tsen countered. Liew defeated her in GE14.

The verbal spat came during a somewhat quiet start in the east coast town of Sandakan, which has 39,349 voters. The coastal agricultural town straddles close to the southern Philippines sea border.

Wong is keeping a tight schedule with four walkabouts in between two ceramah, while Tsen had two walkabouts.

As the candidates ended their third day of campaigning, voters hardly showed any interest judging from the small crowds seen at va­­rious ceramah organised by the political parties.

The number of people attending a ceramah is normally seen as an indicator of support for a party.

Sandakan is widely known as a DAP stronghold.

DAP’s campaign is backed by Warisan, led by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal, and partners PKR and Amanah as well as newcomers Parti Pribumi Ber­satu Malaysia.

PBS has been tasked to lead the opposition fight for Sandakan.

Three independent candidates are also contesting for the seat on the May 11 by-election.

Related stories:

Villagers highlight problems that need fixing to Wong

Hamzah: Amanah members support my campaign

Amanah will act against members who helped Hamzah

PBS denies slamming Wong’s clean-up of Muslim cemetery

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