KOTA KINABALU: After nearly two-weeks of intense campaigning for the 16th Sabah state election, a local think-tank has found that there is still no clear winner in sight between both sides of the political divide.
However, this second survey conducted by the Society Empowerment and Economic Development of Sabah (Seeds) found that Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) is currently leading Warisan Plus.
According to Seeds, Perikatan is viewed favourably compared to Warisan Plus due to the Federal Government’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The survey found that Perikatan, under GRS, had gained overall popularity by as much as 10%.
Conversely, Sabah Barisan Nasional, which is also a member of GRS, had lost up to 10% in its overall popularity, said Seeds chairman Dr Arnold Puyok.
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“The implication of this is that the decision by Barisan, Perikatan and Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) to slug it out in 17 seats has heavily split votes and give the advantage to their opponents, ” he said in a statement on Friday (Sept 25).
The first survey by Seeds conducted in August found strong inclination to support Warisan Plus as well as the possibility of a hung assembly.
GRS parties were initially set to clash in 17 seats. However, negotiations involving party leaders and Perikatan secretary-general Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin have brokered a supposed truce in two seats — Bingkor and Tambunan — where PBS said it would withdraw from contesting.
However, it is unsure whether the truce will materialise, as observers are expecting sabotage by party grassroots.
Meanwhile, the survey also found that the top three issues which may influence voters were infrastructure development, performance of the state government and the Federal Government.
“Issues of party hopping and the Philippines’ claim to Sabah were found to be less salient, ” Dr Arnold added.
The second survey by Seeds, conducted from Sept 18 to 24, polled 1,138 respondents.
Dr Arnold also said that the second survey was hampered by numerous restrictions due to the spread of Covid-19.
One other finding was that the inclination to support local parties had increased to 15.9% from 7.8% from the first survey it conducted last month.
The 16th Sabah state election will feature multi-cornered fights in all of its 73 seats, where 447 candidates will slug it out on polling day on Sept 26.
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