PH presidential council to discuss preparations for Sandakan by-election

PKR president Anwar Ibrahim.

SUBANG: The Pakatan Harapan (PH) presidential council will discuss the upcoming Sandakan by-election at its meeting to be held probably next week, PKR president Anwar Ibrahim said today.

The meeting will, among others, discuss preparations for the by-election.

“It is on schedule. Probably next week. But the decision is for DAP to contest the seat.

“We will throw our support behind DAP,” he told reporters after attending a dialogue on digitalisation at Sunway University here today.

The Sandakan by-election was triggered by the death of its MP, Stephen Wong, from a heart attack on March 28.

Nomination day for the by-election is on April 27, while polling is on May 11.

PAS has decided to stay out of the by-election, but has vowed to support Barisan Nasional (BN).

On the recent Rantau by-election, Anwar said a post-mortem was being carried out to determine what went wrong.

“A post-mortem is normal. We are in the midst of completing the report. I am waiting for the report from the state PKR,” he said.

The Rantau by-election on Saturday, the seventh since PH took over Putrajaya on May 9 last year, saw Umno’s Mohamad Hasan polling 10,397 votes against PKR candidate Dr Streram Sinnasamy’s 5,887 votes. Independents Malar Rajaram and Mohd Nor Yassin obtained 83 and 79 votes respectively.

BN also won the previous two by-elections — in Cameron Highlands and Semenyih.

On the revised deal for the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project, Anwar said in general, the government was satisfied with the new deal with China.

“But we have to move on with bilateral issues, trade and investment.

“There has never been a problem with bilateral relations with China,” he said when asked to comment on Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s second visit to China.

Anwar also noted that Mahathir’s last visit to China had been positive.

Last Friday, Putrajaya announced a reduction of RM21.5 billion in construction cost for Phase 1 and 2 of the ECRL project.

It said the cost had been reduced from RM65.5 billion to RM44 billion following the signing of an agreement between Malaysia Rail Link and China Communications Construction Company. However, some aspects of the project have been trimmed.

After coming to power last year, PH had suspended the 688km project due to its high cost.

On a viral photograph of a Chinese tourist defecating at a Port Dickson beach, Anwar, who is Port Dickson MP, acknowledged that there had been some complaints.

“We need to get hotels to give some sort of education on hygiene and local culture to all tourists. This should not be confined to any particular country.

“There should be certain guidelines to remind tourists and locals on cleanliness,” he added.