KOTA KINABALU: Sabah STAR’s Joe Suleiman is hoping to “slay” Warisan’s Datuk Darell Leiking, a “giant killer” who knocked out Upko president Tan Sri Bernard Dompok six years ago.
Businessman cum social activist Suleiman is hoping for a decisive win against Leiking in a tight seven-cornered fight for the semi-urban seat, which is the gateway to the heartland of the Upper Moyog area.
Suleiman, who is known to work closely with the community including protesting the controversial Papar dam (previously known as Kaiduan dam), believes that he will be able to pull off a surprise for the seat widely seen to be firmly in the hands of Leiking.
“I will do my best for Moyog if I am given a chance. Our problems of flood, traffic congestion and proper roads to kampungs have never been solved.
“I am sure I can do better then the Penampang MP (Leiking), ” he said at a press conference Thursday (Sept 24).
The 59-year-old claimed that Leiking as the MP has not really been around to listen to people’s problems.
“He (Leiking) has not been around, people don’t see him around as he is mostly in Kuala Lumpur. People need an assemblyman they can reach, ” Sulaiman said.
“It’s proven that I’m on the ground helping people, especially community services, welfare and my record shows, ” he added.
Suleiman, who will be contesting under the Perikatan Nasional symbol, is however, in direct clash with Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) John Masabal, a
Perikatan-friendly party under the Gabungan Rakyat Sabah.
The seven-corner fight also sees Parti Cinta Sabah (PCS) William Sampil, a former Penampang district office, in a constituency where families and personalities draw support.
“We see tremendous support when we go around the kampung. Response is very good. I believe among the seven candidates, I’ve a slight lead, ” Suleiman added.
Leiking, who is contesting the state seat for the first time taking over from Warisan’s incumbent Jenifer Lasimbang, remains a front runner in the race for the seat, where voters have shown little mercy to topple powerful incumbents.
In the 2013 general election, federal minister and Upko president Dompok was beaten by a huge majority when political lightweight Leiking contested against him on a PKR ticket. He earned the name of “giant killer” following the election.
Leiking later joined Warisan in 2016.