SANDAKAN: Sabah Umno chief Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin says that the party is rallying the support of about 9,700 of its members to vote in support of Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) in the upcoming by-election here.
"I want to state here, there are about 14,000 Malay voters here and 9,700 are Umno members," he told a crowd during a ceramah at Kampung Sim Sim on Tuesday (May 7).
Bung, who is also Kinabatangan MP, said Umno's machinery to assist the PBS campaign is running smoothly and is in the midst of tracking Umno members who will vote in Sandakan on May 11.
Speaking to reporters after the ceramah, Bung said he was tasked by Umno stalwarts to represent the party in the Sandakan by-election.
He added that Umno was mobilising all its members in the constituency to vote.
"They are all from Kinabatangan and Beluran. But they vote in Sandakan," he said.
Bung added that former Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak could make an appearance in Sandakan to boost the opposition's election campaign.
Bung, who was slapped with three graft charges last Friday, said this had delayed Umno's campaign machinery.
"We could have begun our work earlier but I had a three-day delay due to my court case," he said.
The sole Umno MP in Sabah also refused to speculate if the timing of the corruption charges was politically-motivated.
"I don't want to make any accusations. Let the people judge," he added.
The May 11 by-election will see a five-cornered fight between PBS, DAP and three independent candidates.
Early voting for the Sandakan by-election will take place on Tuesday (May 7).
The Sandakan parliamentary seat has about 40,000 voters comprising 51% Chinese and 45% Muslim bumiputera. The rest of the electorate is made up from the Kadazandusun community and others.
Political observers are expecting a voter turnout rate of 60%, citing political fatigue and disinterest.