None of the political parties organised any major final gatherings, with only smaller ceramah being held in various places within the polling districts.
Parti Warisan Sabah’s Datuk Karim Bujang and Barisan Nasional’s Datuk Mohamad Alamin met with campaign workers to iron out issues that cropped up before going for Friday prayers.
Both contenders expressed optimism about their chances.
“We leave it to the people, but we should be able to make it,” said Karim, who had lunch with Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal at his residence in Kampung Kimanis Brunei in Bongawan.
Karim spent the rest of the day visiting party workers at the 19
polling districts and voters in the 29,664-strong parliamentary constituency.
But Shafie, who is Warisan president, said they should not be overconfident.
“We must work till the end (of campaigning),” he said before leaving for Binsulok, a predominantly poor fishing community that is widely regarded as Umno’s stronghold.
As the Warisan candidate made his final sweep, Mohamad was also seen meeting voters and visiting the various polling districts.
“I am positive. I will leave it to
the voters,” said Mohamad, whose Umno’s machinery remained intact despite the party being in disarray on the ground following the exit of key leaders, including Membakut assemblyman Datuk Mohd Ariffin Ariff, who joined Sabah Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia in April last year.
Amid the dash to the finishing line, former premier Datuk Seri Najib Razak had walkabouts as well as meet-and-greets in three areas, while Umno president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi headed to Binsulok to have lunch with a local leader.
In Binsulok, Shafie met with another family group in Warisan’s bid to make inroads into the Umno stronghold.
The Kimanis seat was declared vacant after the Federal Court on Dec 2 upheld the Election Court’s ruling that nullified four-term Kimanis MP Datuk Seri Anifah Aman’s 156-majority victory in the 14th General Election.
Political analysts and intelligence officers have mixed predictions about what they see as a tight race.
Though they feel that Warisan has a slight edge, they are not ruling out the possibility of Barisan springing a surprise.
The main issues in the by-election are PSS (Sabah Temporary Pass for Filipino refugees), bread-and-butter issues and job opportunities.
The fight is also about choosing Warisan, a Sabah-based party, or Sabah Umno, a national-based party given autonomy in the state.
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