Amanah ‘supporters’ were old friends, says Sandakan indie candidate

Hamzah Abdullah (second right) at the Kim Fung market in Sandakan this morning with individuals wearing the Amanah shirt.

KOTA KINABALU: Independent candidate Hamzah Abdullah, who is the former chairman of Sabah Amanah, today denied telling his supporters to wear the orange party shirt while distributing flyers at a market as part of his campaign for the Sandakan by-election.

“My supporters and I were at the market and coincidently, so was the Amanah team which was there to campaign for DAP candidate Vivian Wong.

“Those who wore Amanah shirts were my friends back when I was in the party. They know me and what I contributed to the party, so if they wanted to help me distribute my flyers, it is their prerogative,” he told FMT.

The incident, which took place at the Kim Fung market in Sandakan, sparked claims that Hamzah was trying to mislead voters by presenting himself as an Amanah candidate.

Sabah Amanah Youth chief Khairuddin Daud lodged a police report against Hamzah after Hamzah’s supporters said they were told to wear Amanah shirts for the campaign activity today.

Hamzah, who lodged a police report of his own to counter Khairuddin’s account of what happened, said he had never forced his supporters or stopped them from helping him.

“It is their democratic right,” he said.

But Khairuddin said he did not recognise any of the individuals and that he had asked them not to wear shirts with the Amanah logo.

“I also saw Hamzah at the location, but I left immediately because I did not want to cause any trouble.

“A few minutes later, I saw another group of unknown people wearing the Amanah shirt and distributing pamphlets for Hamzah.”

He said he then confronted Hamzah and told him to tell his supporters not to wear shirts with the Amanah logo.

Khairuddin said Hamzah told him that the individuals were Amanah supporters.

“I told Hamzah that Amanah does not support him, but he said that it is a story for another day and then left,” he added.

Hamzah is one of three independent candidates in the Sandakan by-election on May 11. He contested the Batu Sapi seat on an Amanah ticket in last year’s general election but lost to Warisan’s Liew Vui Keong.

He left the party in August last year.

The Sandakan by-election will see a five-way contest between Hamzah, fellow independents Sulaiman Samat and Chia Siew Yung, DAP’s Wong and Linda Tsen of PBS.

It was triggered by the death of incumbent and Sabah DAP chief Stephen Wong.