SANDAKAN: There is legitimate concern over Sabah Umno chief Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin’s promise to rally 9,700 members to vote in support of Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) in the looming Sandakan by-election.
Sabah DAP secretary Chan Foong Hin, in expressing concern over Bung’s remarks, told voters not to be content with the party’s position in Sandakan, while urging voters to come out in droves to cast their ballots.
“Yes, we are worried. So, we really need to urge our supporters, please come out to vote, although I have some reservations about Bung’s numbers.
“Don’t just sit in an air-conditioned room and say 'DAP sure win!' There is no such thing as a sure win,” he told reporters when met in Bandar Prima Tuesday (May 7).
Sandakan has been a DAP stronghold for two terms under its incumbent MP, Datuk Stephen Wong Tien Fatt, who passed away on March 28 due to a heart attack.
Meanwhile, Chan believes that grassroots leaders from Parti Warisan Sabah (Warisan) would rival Umno in a bid to woo Bumiputra Muslim votes in Sandakan.
“I also believe our coalition partner Warisan has a strong base that would not be worse than Umno’s.
“Of course, DAP has a strong footing in Sandakan since 1978. But, the only thing is whether the voter turnout rate is high or not,” he added.
Political observers are expecting a voter turnout rate of 60%, citing political fatigue and disinterest.
On Monday (May 6) Bung pledged to rally 9,700 votes for PBS and said that Umno’s machinery in assisting PBS’s election campaign is running smoothly as it is in the midst of tracking Umno members who will vote in Sandakan on May 11.
Bung does not dismiss the possibility that there would be a last minute surprise in the Opposition’s election campaign, as he said former Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak might make an appearance in Sandakan.
“But, we don’t know if he is coming. Maybe he is coming. Maybe.”
The May 11 by-election will see a five-cornered fight between PBS’s former two-term MP Datuk Linda Tsen, DAP’s political newbie Vivian Wong and three independent candidates.
Early voting for the Sandakan by-election took place earlier on Tuesday (May 7).
The Sandakan parliamentary seat has about 40,000 voters comprising 51% Chinese and 45% Muslim bumiputera’s. The rest of the electorate was made up from the Kadazandusun community and others.