Monday, February 25, 2008


2 MP and 1 State seats unopposed


The Sabah Barisan Nasional (BN) won two of the 25 parliamentary seats and one of the 60 State seats up for grabs uncontested after nominations for the March 8 general election closed yesterday. PBRS President Tan Sri Joseph Kurup, who replaced BN incumbent and his Secretary-General Datuk Bernard Maraat for the Pensiangan parliamentary seat in the Interior was unchallenged. Just two days ago, Bernard dropped a bombshell when he announced that he was quitting all his posts in the party and would be contesting the seat as an independent, but his threat fizzled out and did not materialize on Nomination Day. The second parliamentary seat was won for the BN by another veteran politician Datuk Mohd Ghapur Salleh of Umno ho retained Kalabakan for the second time consecutively. The sole state seat was delivered by Ramlee Marhaban of Umno who replaced incumbent Datuk Basalie Abdul Hamid for Bugaya. The results for the three uncontested seats were announced by the Election Commission in a statement after the completion of the Nomination Day yesterday. In the 2004 general election, Sabah BN won nine parliamentary and seven State seats after the nomination, and went on to make a virtual clean sweep of all the 25 Parliamentary and 60 State seats, losing only the Sandakan and Kuala Penyu to the independents. Recently, Chief Minister cum Sabah BN Chairman Datuk Seri Musa Aman had predicted that the Sabah BN component parties, consisting of Umno, PBS, Upko, SAPP, PBRS, MCA, Gerakan and MIC would be able to repeat the 2004 feat in the 12th general election. Musa, who heads the Sabah Umno, and other State BN component chiefs, namely PBS President Datuk Seri Panglima Joseph Pairin Kitingan, Upko President Tan Sri Bernard Dompok, LDP President Datuk VK Liew and Sabah MCA head Datuk Edward Khoo are being challenged by the opposition and independents in their respective seats. Incumbent Musa, is pitted in a four-cornered fight for the N42 Sungai Sibuga state seat with Ahmad Thamrin Jaini from Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), Osman Enting from Bersekutu and Gusmiah Diong who is contesting as an independent. The Chief Minister won Sungai Sibuga in the 2004 general election with 6,670 votes majority. An interesting fight is brewing for the Keningau parliamentary seat between incumbent Datuk Seri Panglima Joseph Pairin Kitingan and younger brother Jeffrey. Joining the two well-known Kitingan brothers in a tussle for the seat in the Interior is another veteran politician Peter Kodo @ Peter Anthony, who is contesting on a DAP ticket. Pairin is involved in a three- cornered fight in defending the Tambunan seat which he has been representing since 1976 during the then Berjaya Government. His opponents this time are lawyer Moses @ Mozes Iking and a former Peoples Development Leader for the area, Koh Kui Tze @ Francis Koh Lui Tze. Similarly, a tough fight from the opposition is awaiting Dompok, who replaced incumbent Donald Datuk Peter Mojuntin for the Penampang parliamentary seat, regarded as the heartland of the Kadazandusun. Dompok who made a comeback to Penampang after serving two- terms in Ranau is caught in a four- cornered fight with veterinarian Dr Edwin Bosi from PKR, Anthony Tibok and Levired Missih @ Willybroad Missi as independents. Over in Sandakan, Liew, who took over the LDP presidency from his predecessor Tan Sri Chong Kah Kiat last year, is involved in a three- cornered fight for the predominantly Chinese area. Incumbent Chong Hon Ming who wrested the seat from then LDP Deputy President Datuk Lau Ngan Siew in 2004 but decided to stay away this time after his motion to join the BN through SAPP, was rejected. One of Liew’s challengers is the LDP Deputy Youth Chief Fong Vun Fui, who quit the party a few days ago and decided to contest to protest against Liew’s decision to stand there. The other challenger is a woman, Chong Chu Lin @ Shanty, a senior lawyer and a former Magistrate who once served for several years in Sandakan. In Kepayan on the west coast, MCA Sabah Chairman Datuk Edward Khoo who is defending the state seat for the second time is also pitted in a three-cornered fight. Khoo is also expecting a stiff challenge from another senior lawyer and seasoned politician Datuk Chau Chin Tan, a one-time assemblyman for Sembulan during the PBS tenure in power, who is standing on a PKR ticket. The other contender an engineer, Stephen Jacob Jimbangan, who is from the area is banking on him being a local to woo the voters to deliver the seat for the DAP. Elsewhere across the State, interesting fights are also expected in the days to come during the two- week campaign period between the ruling BN and Opposition. Police meanwhile described the nominations process across the State as peaceful without any untoward incidents reported from the grounds. It was reported that the weather was quite bad in certain areas like Sipitang, where the contesting candidates and their supporters have to brave the heavy rains to reach the nomination centre in time.