Battle for Kadazandusun votes grows intense


  • Nation
  • Monday, 21 Sep 2020

Eye-catching: Hundreds of party flags being displayed under the ‘Siga’ head gear of Kadazan traditional costume at the Penampang roundabout in Sabah. — ZULAZHAR SHEBLEE/The Star

KOTA KINABALU: Parti Bersatu Sabah’s (PBS) Kiulu candidate Datuk Joniston Bangkuai is not holding back his punches against rival Datuk Seri Wilfred Madius Tangau, the Upko president.

Joniston has reminded the people during a ceramah that it was Madius, who in the 2018 election purportedly told the people “a vote for Warisan was a vote for illegal immigrants”.

“And this is the very same man who left Barisan Nasional hardly 48 hours after the election results were announced to support Warisan Plus,” he said at a ceramah in Kiulu town on the foothills of Mount Kinabalu, 60km from here.

“I am not making up anything. This was what he campaigned during the last election. You all heard him.”

Also speaking at the ceramah was Perikatan Nasional secretary-general Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin.

Joniston was referring to the move by Madius where he took Upko out of Sabah Barisan to team up with Warisan which was led by Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal after the results left Sabah Barisan and Warisan hung with both winning 29 seats each in the 60-member assembly.

Upko, which won five seats under Barisan, joined Warisan as another opposition, Sabah STAR led by Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan that won two seats, supported Sabah Barisan led by Tan Sri Musa Aman.

Musa managed to be sworn in but was ousted by Shafie who took over the state government on May 12.

Later, PBS also left Barisan to become an Independent opposition party.

Today, PBS is with Perikatan Nasional (comprising Sabah Bersatu, Sabah Progressive Party, Sabah STAR and PAS) and also Sabah Barisan (Sabah Umno, Sabah MCA and Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah [PBRS]).

The opposition grouping known as Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) is the main opponent to Shafie’s Warisan Plus which is seeking a second term at the Sept 26 state polls.

Joniston and Madius, the Tuaran MP, are locked in a six-cornered fight for the Kadazandusun majority Kiulu seat where the illegal immigrant issue resonates across the non-Muslim bumiputra seat.

Madius has been defending the fateful move to leave Barisan and team up with Warisan Plus to form the state government.

He told voters not only in Kiulu but across the Kadazandusun, Murut and Rungus heartland that it was a party decision to safeguard the interest of the community.

The campaigns within the non-Muslim bumiputra areas involving some 24 seats have also been ruthless and brutal as GRS candidates paint the picture that Warisan was purportedly pro-illegal immigrants and could not be trusted as they allegedly legalised illegal immigrants.

The attacks, be it on social media or ceramah, are not being taken lightly by Warisan and its partners Upko, PKR and DAP which are contesting the non-Muslim bumiputra seats.

The Warisan Plus coalition hit back saying that citizenship given to doubtful foreigners was allegedly done during the 25-year rule of Barisan, of which 15 years were under Sabah Umno’s Musa.

They also questioned GRS components like PBS and PBRS on the association with the national coalition with parties like PAS promoting ideologies that were seemingly not in sync with the Sabah way of life.

Shafie has also been able to soften the Opposition propaganda as it pushes Sabah rights with a national agenda saying “we are here to build a nation, not a particular race or religion”.
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