Stay in BN, Rahman urges dropped Jumat

The three BN candidates in Sepanggar: Jainab Ahmad Ayid, Abdul Rahman Dahlan and Johnny Goh on Saturday.

KOTA KINABALU: Abdul Rahman Dahlan, the BN candidate for the Sepanggar parliamentary seat, hopes that the former MP, Jumat Idris, will remain in the BN family although he was not selected to defend his seat.

“I don’t know what his next move is but we want him to stay as we are all part of the BN family,” said Rahman, a minister in the Prime Minister’s Department and two-term Kota Belud MP.

“We want to continue his legacy and put into action all his plans for Sepanggar. I really hope he will continue to be with us,” he said.

The decision to drop Jumat did not go down well with Sepanggar Umno members as he remains popular among his constituents and many regard Rahman as an outsider.

Jumat is scheduled to hold a press conference at his house on Sunday evening to reveal his future plans.

He has thus far not commented on whether he would remain an Umno member or follow in the footsteps of seven Sepanggar Umno members who left the party to join rival Parti Warisan Sabah.

If that happens, Rahman would have to convince Jumat’s supporters that they would be better off staying put than joining him.

Rahman’s main opponent in Sepanggar is Warisan Youth chief Azis Jamman, who is also not a local.

A total of 14 candidates were accepted to contest in Sepanggar and its accompanying state seats of Karambunai and Inanam.

Sepanggar, a semi-urban seat with more than 62,000 voters, is one of the largest in Sabah. It was previously won by Sabah Progressive Party for BN twice in 2004 and 2008, and by Umno in 2013.

Karambunai state seat

Jainab Ahmad Ayid, who was chosen to defend Karambunai, said she needed to work harder as she faced a challenge from three others.

Among them is former Sepanggar Umno committee member Azhar Matussin, who left Umno for Warisan only three weeks ago citing dissatisfaction over the choice of candidates and other reasons.

He had also come to Jainab’s defence then, saying that she had been going to the ground and should be given the chance to defend the seat.

Inanam state seat

BN’s candidate for Inanam, Johnny Goh, faces five other contestants. He said he would not make the mistake of claiming he was assured of victory.

“We should not underestimate our opponents. But we will work hard to win back the seat from the opposition,” said Goh, who was the assemblyman there from 1999 to 2013.

Goh was dropped by BN in 2013 following an internal tussle in Parti Bersatu Sabah. He can heave a sigh of relief now as the party’s other potential candidates, William Majimbun and Fredolin Totin, have decided to close ranks and unite behind him.

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