KOTA KINABALU: Veteran Sabah assemblyman Nasir Sakaran believes BN will be able to beat the opposition, especially Parti Warisan Sabah, on its home turf of Semporna through strong teamwork.
The six-term assemblyman will defend his Senallang seat, one of the three state seats in the Semporna parliamentary constituency. The other two are Sulabayan and Bugaya.
Nasir’s candidacy was announced today by Sabah Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman Musa Aman who also unveiled the full list of the coalition’s candidates for the May 9 polls.
Harman Mohamad will stand in Sulabayan while Razak Sakara will take over in Bugaya to replace Ramlee Marahaban, who will now challenge Semporna incumbent, Parti Warisan Sabah president Shafie Apdal.
The Sulabayan incumbent is Warisan vice-president Jaujan Sambakong, who left Umno together with Shafie.
“I’ll work hard to ensure that BN successfully defends Senallang,” Nasir told FMT after the announcement.
“Fielding Ramlee for Semporna is good because we can work together to ensure a win for both the parliamentary and state areas.
“Facing a strong opposition in Semporna is normal for us now. It is normal in politics. What’s important is we work as a team.”
Nasir, the son of former Sabah governor and chief minister Sakaran Dandai, and a cousin of Shafie, began his career as an assemblyman with Usno in the 1990 general election, when he won the Sulabayan seat.
He successfully defended Sulabayan in 1995 before contesting and winning in the Senallang constituency in the 1999 polls.
Nasir has never faced a one-on-one competition during elections, including in Senallang, which is more than 70% Muslim Bumiputera.
In the last outing in 2013, five candidates vied for the seat but Nasir emerged triumphant with a 5,909-vote majority. The closest rival then was PKR’s Mohd Amin Mem, who obtained 1,516 votes.
The other three candidates in Senallang were independents.