KOTA KINABALU: The Kota Kinabalu parliamentary constituency is set for an intriguing battle as Barisan Nasional has tasked a former DAP man to wrest the seat from the party which has held it for a decade.
Dr Joseph Lee Han Kyun, currently with Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS), had unsuccessfully contested the Putatan federal seat for DAP in the last general election in May 2013.
The doctor is now engaged in a three-cornered fight against Sabah DAP secretary Chan Foong Hin and Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) president and former chief minister Yong Teck Lee.
The candidates were joined by others vying for state seats within the constituency in filing their nomination papers for the 14th general election (GE14) at the Maksak Hall in Likas here today.
Lee said it would be an interesting race as both he and Chan were newcomers to the constituency while Yong was a familiar face.
He said he had left DAP to join PBS after the last election due to “problems within the party that did not follow the ideals I wanted”.
“There are differences in terms of vision and mission, as well as internal politics, which are not according to my liking as a professional,” he said.
Chan was previously Sri Tanjong state assemblyman. He has swapped seats with DAP’s Jimmy Wong, who won Kota Kinabalu in 2013.
Meanwhile, Yong claimed that Pakatan Harapan (PH) offered the same brew of “Ketuanan Malaya” as BN.
“Dr Mahathir Mohamad did not join Pakatan Harapan. Mahathir took over Pakatan,” he said, referring to former prime minister Mahathir, who is PPBM chairman, being made the pact’s chairman and prime ministerial candidate in the event it wins GE14.
“We have a good chance of winning because of the increased awareness among Sabahans and Sarawakians on their states’ rights. Sabah people want change,” he said.
He also claimed that Parti Warisan Sabah would draw away votes from those who had traditionally supported Umno, and that Kadazandusun Murut (KDM) voters would opt for Gabungan Sabah (of which SUPP is a component) while Chinese voters were generally for the opposition.
State seats in Kota Kinabalu
Meanwhile, the state seats of Luyang and Likas in Kota Kinabalu will also sees three-cornered fights.
The remaining Api-Api state seat has BN candidate Dr Yee Moh Chai, who is PBS deputy president, involved in a five-way battle, that includes an independent.
BN’s candidate for Luyang, Dr Pamela Yong, faces SAPP’s Gee Tien Siong and DAP’s Phoong Jin Zhe. All three are new faces.
In Likas, Chin Su Ying, who lost to DAP’s Junz Wong here in the last election, will contest against Sabah DAP assistant secretary Tan Lee Fatt and SAPP’s Richard Yong We Kong.
In Api-Api, Yee will re-ignite his battle with Sabah PKR chairman Christina Liew, who he lost to in the last polls. They face SAPP’s Lim Kat Chung, Parti Kerjasama Anak Negeri’s Land Lip Fong and independent Chan Chee Ching, a doctor-cum-lawyer.
Yee had held Api-Api for three terms from 1999 before losing to Liew in 2013.
“I served for more than 10 years before this and I believe voters will compare my record with the last five years and make the right choice,” he said.
Yong’s objection causes brief commotion
Meanwhile, there was a brief commotion when Yong objected to attempts by election officials to check the details of the witness for PKR’s Liew.
It is learned that the name of Liew’s witness was stamped on the form instead of being written, resulting in the need for verification from the witness.
Returning officer Robert Lipon said there was no issue with the nomination because it was filed within the one-hour time frame from 9am.
Yong had contended that any amendment should only be made within the nomination period.
The scheduled announcement of the candidates at 11am was also delayed by more than two hours due to disruption in the working team’s fax machine and the need for the Election Commission to scrutinise the nomination papers.