KOTA KINABALU: The 16th Sabah Election on Sept 26 will see a total of 447 candidates from various parties, as well as independents, battling for 73 state seats.
Many multi-cornered fights are on the cards, with Bengkoka seeing the most candidates – a whopping 11 people are vying for the seat.
Here are the seats featuring the big names that will be keenly observed by analysts and pundits:
Api-Api: Sabah PKR chief Datuk Christina Liew is facing a very tough challenge to retain her seat as she is faced with a nine-cornered fight against her old PBS nemesis Datuk Yee Moh Chai and a sundry list of wannabes.
Moyog: Warisan’s Penampang MP Datuk Darell Leiking is on his first foray for a state seat for Warisan. He is caught in a seven-way fight that also includes “friendlies” from PBS and Sabah STAR in this semi-urban Kadazandusun seat that has a history for changing the status quo.
Tambunan: Sabah STAR’s Dr Jeffrey Kitingan won this seat from his brother Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan, who was the then PBS president. A vote split between PBS and Warisan candidates gave him the edge to win the seat. PBS, though an opposition-friendly party, has fielded Silverius Bruno in the six-cornered contest here.
Paginatan: This seat in Ranau is seeing all Perikatan-friendly parties placing candidates in a nine-cornered fight. Sabah STAR has placed back Datuk Abduidin Madingkir, while PBS has put loyalist Arthur Sen and Barisan’s Umno, Junaidi Sahaht.
Bongowan: Former foreign minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman is leading Parti Cinta Sabah in this election and is caught in a four-cornered fight with Warisan’s incumbent Dr Daud Yusof as well as Barisan-Umno's Ag Syairin Ag Bakar. Both Warisan and Barisan want to put an end on his plans to head the next government.
Usukan: Having lost his Kota Belud parliament seat to an unknown relative in 2018, former federal minister and chief minister Datuk Seri Mohd Salleh Said Keruak is riding the Barisan-Umno ticket in contesting the seat. He is in a three-cornered fight with two little known candidates from Warisan and PCS.
Sungai Sibuga: Warisan is fielding Datuk Armani Mahiruddin, the sister of the Sabah Governor, to take the seat held for 26 years by Tan Sri Musa Aman, who was dropped by Umno. She will be involved in a five-cornered fight for a seat sought by Barisan-Umno, PCS and others.
Kiulu: Upko’s president Datuk Wilfred Madius Tangau is carrying the Warisan Plus flag into the Kadazandusun, Murut and Rungus heartland. All eyes are on Madius to deliver this seat on the foothills of Mount Kinabalu in Tamparuli. The Tuaran MP is up against PBS’s incumbent Datuk Joniston Bangkuai in a six-corner fight where grudges over Madius' move to take Upko out of the Barisan after May 2018 election continue to seethe.
Inanam: The seat lost through the defection of PKR’s Kenny Chua is in the spotlight, as this time round Chua has returned as independent in a 10-way fight that’s also seeing former chief minister Tan Sri Chong Kah Kiat joining the fray via his Liberal Democratic Party.
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