Sandakan indie candidate pledges to give his all for people’s rights

Independent candidate in the Sandakan by-election Hamzah Abdullah.

KOTA KINABALU: Independent candidate Hamzah Abdullah promised at a teary press conference in Sandakan today he would even sacrifice his life to protect the people’s rights.

The former Sabah Amanah chief also said he would remain an independent even if he won the Sandakan parliamentary by-election on May 11.

Hamzah said he would “gadai nyawa” (sacrifice his life) to protect the people’s rights, adding that he was not in politics to look after his own interests.

“As long as you are Sabahan, I will fight for your rights.

“I will not join PKR or DAP, or any party for that matter, and will remain an independent.

“I know the people’s problems and I will fight for them,” he said between sobs as his assistants comforted him.

He said he could have asked for projects from “close friend” Amanah president Mohamad Sabu previously if he was only interested in looking after himself.

Earlier, Hamzah took the Warisan-led Sabah government to task over the appointment of Sandakan Municipal Council (MPS) president Peter Hii, saying it was a “betrayal” of the people’s trust.

He said the government had gone against its own slogan “Sabah for Sabahans” when it chose the Sarawakian to helm the council.

Hamzah said that if elected, he would highlight such issues as proper identification documents for locals, housing and squatter settlements.

“There are many Kadazandusun Murut (KDM) people without identification papers because of bureaucracy in the National Registration Department.

“Also, there are more than 4,000 applications for endorsements of birth certificates still stuck in the courts.

“I will bring these matters up in Parliament if I am elected the MP.”

Hamzah also criticised the choice of Vivian Wong as the DAP candidate although he had kind words for her late father, Stephen Wong, whom he described as a “good friend” and a “real people’s fighter”.

“I remember that when Linda Tsen was picked as the candidate to replace her husband for the Batu Sapi parliamentary seat, people cried nepotism and cronyism,” he said, referring to the Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) vice-president who is also contesting the seat.

“Now it’s down the same road for DAP, which has inherited Barisan Nasional’s legacy. You shouldn’t do as what you criticised before, so people will respect you.

“The choice of Vivian is not about her quality as a fighter but more about the sympathy of the people,” he said.

Hamzah is among three independents taking on Vivian and Tsen in the by-election. The others are Sulaiman Abdul Samat and Chia Siew Yung.