Former company manager quits job to contest in Sandakan by-election

Former palm oil company operations manager Chia Siew Yung (centre) joining hands in solidarity with his supporters after a press conference to announce his candidacy for the Sandakan parliamentary by-election today.

KOTA KINABALU: A former operations manager with a palm oil company is the first to announce his intention to contest the Sandakan parliamentary by-election.

Chia Siew Yung, a virtual newcomer to politics, said he will contest as an independent candidate for the seat.

Although admitting he had no experience in politics, the 46-year-old Sandakan native told a press conference today that he is nonetheless confident of causing an upset.

“Of course, I have confidence in winning. Or else, I would not have quit my job,” he said, adding he had the backing of five NGOs.

The father of two had quit his job of 22 years to concentrate on the by-election.

Once he is Sandakan MP, Chia said he will not take sides and instead remain an independent.

“I will not take sides (with the government or opposition) but will point out the flaws of the government and demand for them to keep their promises to the people.

“I will bring the voice of the people in Sandakan to the Dewan Rakyat,” he said.

Persatuan Kebajikan Masyarakat Berbilang Kaum Sandakan (Perkesas), one of the NGOs backing Chia, expressed its full support for the independent candidate.

Its president, Mushe Zulkarnain, said Chia did not have to bow down to any political leader because he was not tied to any political party.

“As an independent, Chia can better channel the voices of the people.

“No one will direct Chia to do anything that he does not want,” Mushe said, adding Perkesas had about 7,000 members of various races.

Chia had previously obtained a scholarship from the Chief Minister’s Department to continue his studies. He obtained a diploma in mechanical engineering from the politechnic institutes in Kuching and Port Dickson.

The Sandakan parliamentary seat fell vacant after the death of Sabah DAP chief Stephen Wong Tien Fatt on March 28.

The Election Commission has set April 27 as nomination day. Early voting is on May 7 and the by-election will be held on May 11.