Tawau Umno protests against ‘outsider’ candidate for Balung

The protest held outside the Tawau Umno Youth office today.

KOTA KINABALU The Tawau Umno division has warned the state party leadership that it cannot guarantee a win for the Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate named for the state seat of Balung in the upcoming polls.

Office bearers from the Tawau Umno division, branches, youth, women and Puteri wings, led a peaceful protest against the decision to field a candidate whom they say is an outsider in the state seat of Balung, which comes under the Tawau parliamentary constituency.

“We cannot guarantee how the people would vote if this protest is not heeded.

“People say Balung is a fixed deposit but if the state party leadership doesn’t take heed of our views, we cannot guarantee a win in Balung and also in Tawau,” Tawau Umno Youth chief Ariffin Kassim told FMT.

He added that this decision by the state BN leadership will also affect the other state seats in Tawau in the 14th general election (GE14).

However, Ariffin said he would continue to support the party, regardless of the candidate for Balung.

“I can let people see my vote later on to show that I and the other leaders will remain loyal to Umno but we cannot vouch for the people, the voters.

“We don’t know how they feel and whether they will jump to the other side because the opposition is also actively campaigning.”

The controversy started after it was announced that BN would be fielding Osman Jamal, who is said to be from Kalabakan, as the candidate for Balung.

“We’d like to urge that a BN candidate be chosen from within our ranks to stand in the state constituency of Balung.

“There are many branches within the Tawau parliamentary constituency. So, there is no reason to get an outsider to stand in our area,” Ariffin told FMT.

He called on BN’s top leadership to take note of their feelings.

“All the branch leaders have met with the incumbent Balung assemblyman, Syed Abas Syed Ali, and I’m sure he will express our views to the top leadership.

“Now, we hope with help from the media and through this peaceful protest, our voices will reach the top too,” Ariffin said.

Tawau has three state seats, namely Balung, Apas and Sri Tanjong.

Balung and Apas are held by BN while DAP holds the Sri Tanjong seat.

Syed Abas won Balung in a four-cornered fight in the 2013 general election, garnering a strong 5,569-vote majority.