Usno chief Badaruddin Harun, son of Tun Mustapha who paved the way for Umno's entry into Sabah, will take on Shafie Apdal in what promises to be a hotseat of revelations.
Most of the seats are in predominantly-Kadazandusun areas in Sabah’s west-coast and interior, but also included are many Muslim seats currently held by Umno.
This was announced by Sabah STAR chairman Jeffrey Kitingan at a press conference soon after he launched the party’s election manifesto at the city’ new hotel Ming Garden here today.
He named most of the candidates but left few seats pending as it is believed tussles were still on-going and that possible crossovers of ‘influential’ members from other parties are imminent.
Already there are talks that PKR senior leader Ansari Abdullah and his group would be seeing Jeffrey later today. Ansari, once a blue-eyed boy of Anwar Ibrahim, was completely missing from PKR list this time.
Today, former Sabah PKR Youth Head, Jaffery Jamion, quit the party and handed over his application to join STAR.
This would make the May 5 polls the most crowded in Sabah’s history based on the participation of political parties.
As many as two-thirds of the seats in Sabah will see at least a four-cornered fight and this is not counting scores of possible independent candidates.
STAR’s sole ally under United Borneo Alliance (UBA) is Usno (protem) which is led by Datu Badarudin Datu Mustapha.
Usno will contest in four parliamentary seats and seven state seats.
Brothers to face-off
Badarudin said two of Usno’s candidates would use STAR symbol while the rest stand as Usno independents.
Jeffrey will again contest in the Keningau parliamentary seat and the Bingkor state seat under Keningau.
He has chosen a popular boy, Nestor Joannes, to take on his elder brother Joseph Pairin for the Tambunan state constituency.
Political pundits predict Joannes could be a giant-killer as Pairin’s popularity dropped to its lowest in 38 years.
While another opposition party Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) has not chosen a candidate to go against Jeffrey in Bingkor, the Peninsular-based PKR has put up a former federal deputy minister Ahmad Shah Tambakau as its candidate.
PKR also had its Keningau divisional head, Stephen Sandor, going against Jeffrey and Pairin for the Keningau seat.
STAR deputy chairman Daniel John Jambun, had at the last minute switched from Inanam state seat to contest instead for the Sepanggar parliamentary seat, formerly held by SAPP’s Eric Majimbun, who will now contest for Inanam.
Jambun will be up against Jeffrey Kumin of DAP, Chin Hon Kong of SAPP and Jumat Idris of BN.
Another deputy chairman, Awang Ahmad Sah Awang Sahari, is slated to try his luck again in his hometown Petagas where BN has a so-called “bank votes” of about 4,000 from the serving army in Lok Kawi.
Ahmad Sah will also be contesting the Kimanis parliamentary seat, up against incumbent and federal minister Anifah Aman, SAPP’s Jamil William Core and Jaafar Ismail of PKR.
Usno takes on Shafie Apdal
Yet another deputy chairman Dr Nicholas James Guntobon, is to contest in Liawan state seat, just next to Bingkor.
Two other STAR deputy chairmen, Paul Voon, and Jacob Chang, had not been named candidate but Chang could be last minute candidate for Lahad Datu or Silam, which both Jeffrey and Badarudin have left pending.
It is also learned that overtures from dropped BN’s one-term parliamentarian for Silam, Salleh Kalbi, could be a factor.
STAR Sabah secretary, Guandee Kohoi, will contest the Beaufort parliamentary seat, where heavyweights Lajim Ukin of PKR, is defending his seat. Aiming to wrest the seat is BN’s Azizah Mohd Dun.
Meanwhile, Badarudin has chosen to go against Umno vice-president, Shafie Apdal for the Semporna parliamentary seat.
He said he would not be using STAR symbol but will go with an Usno independent banner, to prove a point to Umno that Usno still exists in the mind of Sabahans.
This tussle for Semporna promises to be a hot one as Badarudin too has his families there.
Badaruddin is the son of Usno’s founder, the late Tun Mustapha Datu Harun, who actually paved the way for Umno to spread wing to Sabah.
Badarudin’s cousin, Datu Arifin Datu Salam of Usno, meanwhile would contest the Tanjung Kapur state seat in Kudat, the birth place of Tun Mustapha. Arifin would use the STAR symbol, said Badarudin.