Independents go their own way to woo voters


SANDAKAN: Despite their underdog status, the three independent candidates are not about to throw in the towel without putting up a fight.All three have been busy campaigning daily, making themselves visible and trying to convince voters to give them a chance over the PBS and DAP heavyweights.

The most senior of the three is Hamzah Abdullah, having contested in seven past elections but failed in all his attempts.

The former Sabah PAS chairman and former Sabah Amanah chairman seemed to be ahead with posters of him spotted at some houses in Kampung Sim Sim.

On Wednesday, he was also seen holding a short ceramah in Taman Harmoni where residents stopped briefly to hear him out.

Hamzah, 65, claimed to have more than half of the Chinese and Muslim bumiputras’ support.

Earlier this week, the other candidate, Sulaiman Abdul Samat, 36, a former administrative assistant, was spotted doing walkabouts with a three-man team, handing out leaflets of his manifesto and election pledges to people in Sri Taman.

Not to be outdone, businessman-turned-politician Chia Siew Yung, 45, had his posters pasted next to DAP’s Vivian Wong and PBS’ Datuk Linda Tsen across the town and urban commercial areas.

Instead of holding a ceramah, Chia opted to give out badges and stickers, pledging to voice out the people’s problems without fear or favour of any political party.

Analysts are sceptical that any of the three would be able to make a repeat of the 2004 election results, where independent Chong Hon Min beat Barisan Nasional’s Datuk Lau Ngan Siew with a 1,330-vote majority in a three-cornered fight.

“Voters are looking s national and local issues instead of just the candidate’s personality,” said Tony Paridi Bagang, a Sabah Universiti Tekno­logi Mara senior lecturer.

Meawhile, Universiti Malaysia Sabah senior lecturer and researcher Dr Zaini Othman opined that the three icandidates were not well organised in their campaigning.

Sandakan by Election