Dompok, Donald and Khoo have confidence of delivering seats
Confidence is high in the Barisan Nasional (BN) camp as two candidates from Upko and one from MCA registered as candidates to contest the Penampang parliamentary and Moyog and Kepayan State seats. Upko president Tan Sri Bernard Dompok, when met after handing in his nomination papers, said he was upbeat of his and the BN’s chances of defending the three seats come polling day on March 8. “We are winning. I don’t know how else I can elaborate on that,” he said. Dompok, who is returning to Penampang after serving two terms in Ranau, said there is no need for the opposition in the district because “we cover all the issues brought up by everybody”. “We have the capacity to do it. We have the commitment to tackle issues and we have the courage to carry out the mandate very high. “I have tackled contentious issues at Federal level and I’m willing to pay the price for it. We are the people who will represent the KDM (Kadazandusun-Murut) people. The KDM will be more marginalised if you go in the opposition because this will only weaken the voice that we have (in the Government) at present,” he said. Donald Mojuntin, who will contest in Moyog after vacating the Penampang seat to accommodate Dompok’s return, said the electorate has matured and is not easily taken in by political rhetoric. Donald, who won the Penampang seat with 16,032 votes in 2004, will be contesting against former independent and now Keadilan candidate Moris @ Francis Miji, and Willybroad who is the only candidate in the area going for two seats. “I think the people are wiser and wary of what the opposition is saying. We went through a lot.., in the past twice Tan Sri (Dompok) lost which means twice we had no representation, and during those periods I think we felt the difference. “People are more educated now, the older generation also know the difference between having a minister and not having a minister. “The people know now that the choice is in their hands, the people want to see progress. The Government is helping in school fees, and in this the Government spent RM3 billion this year and there is also a lot more in terms of subsidies. “The opposition is concerned about the price hike but I don’t think the Government is making an intentional hike, this is a reaction to the world situation,” Donald said. Moris is contesting the seat for the second time, having received 3,124 votes as an independent when going up against Philip. Kepayan incumbent Datuk Edward Khoo meanwhile continues to stand as the sole MCA candidate in Sabah, having won the seat in 2004 garnering 5,472 votes. It will be a three-cornered race in Kepayan, with challenges from Datuk Chau Chin Tang for Keadilan and DAP candidate Steven Jimbangan who earned 494 votes in 2004 as an independent in the same area. Khoo pledged to continue to work hard for the Kepayan constituency if he were to be re-elected for a second term. “All this while I have worked hard for the good of the people and the area I represent. This is why I am not too worried. I leave it to the voters to make their own decisions. “If I am re-elected, I will continue with many more efforts that I have yet to complete to ensure the standard of living of the people improves,” he said. Throughout the two-hour objection period after nominations closed, two objections were raised against Willybroad, but were struck out by returning officer William Sampil.