KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah PKR election is tipped to be a hotly contested affair with leaders who won in the 14th general election (GE14) expected to face challengers for the divisional leadership, said a well-placed party source.
The victors in GE14 are Sabah PKR chief Christina Liew who heads the Api-Api division, Awang Husaini Sahari (Putatan), Jonathan Yasin (Ranau) and Kenny Chua (Penampang).
Liew, who is deputy chief minister, won the Api-Api state and Tawau parliamentary seats. Awang Husaini and Jonathan won the Putatan and Ranau federal seats while Chua, who is the Sabah assistant finance minister, won the Inanam state seat.
The source said the number of challengers for each of these leaders was unclear but some might face up to three challengers.
“The stock has gone up since GE14… many want to have a go at these leaders’ divisional posts,” the source said.
Nomination for Sabah PKR has been fixed for Aug 4 and the announcement of contesting candidates on Aug 8. Polling day will be on Sept 22.
The source said former Inanam assemblyman Dr Roland Chia, who was dropped from the party’s GE14 candidates list, is expected to defend the leadership of the Sepanggar division.
Chia will likely face a three-way battle against former Sepanggar division chief Ramlan Nain, a member of the state PKR leadership council, and ordinary member Nani Sakam, the source added.
The source said Chia might face a setback as he was aligned to the faction that wanted to see PKR deputy president Mohamed Azmin Ali become the president, instead of PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim.
Nani’s chances, too, may be affected by his regular criticism of the party’s leadership at the state and central levels.
The source said Tawau PKR chief Kong Hong Ming, who is also said to be aligned with Azmin’s camp, would defend his division.
“We’ll have a better picture in the coming days as we approach nomination day as anything can change,” the source added.