KOTA KINABALU: The DAP won the Sandakan by-election today with a bigger majority than in 2013 according to unofficial results. The victory was hailed by DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang as a turnaround in Pakatan Harapan’s political fortunes after three successive by-election defeats in the Peninsula to Barisan Nasional.
Unofficial results by the Election Commission showed that the party’s candidate, Vivian Wong, had recorded a majority of 11,521 votes over her nearest opponent, Linda Tsen of PBS.
The margin was bigger than that won by her father Stephen Wong at the general election in 2013, when he was elected wth a majority of 10,000 votes.
Vivian said she was excited by her victory, her first foray into politics, and was thankful for the people’s support, acknowledging that these were her father’s supporters also.
Her father represented the constituency since 2013. He retained the seat in the election last year with a 10,085 majority. His death in March triggered this by-election.
Lim said Vivian had made history. The result was a “knockout blow” to the Malu Apa Bossku campaign of former prime minister Najib Razak, he said.
Official results, declared by returning officer Mohd Hamsan Awang Supain:
Vivian Wong (DAP) 16,012
Linda Tsen (PBS) 4,491
Hamzah Abdullah (Ind) 788
Sulaiman Abdul Samat (Ind) 126
Chia Siew Yung (Ind) 178
Spoilt ballots 234
Voter turnout 54.4%
Total electorate: 40,131
PBS president Maximus Ongkili congratulated Wong and hoped that the DAP would honour all the promises they made.
Ongkili said the result, although unsatisfactory for PBS, had shown that the party was still an anchor party to be reckoned with.
“At the outset, PBS recognised itself as the political underdog given the electoral result for the constituency in the 14th general election,” he said. “PBS put up a good fight, but in the end, we could not overcome the might we were facing.”
DAP secretary general Lim Guan Eng declared the victory to be the perfect birthday gift for the Pakatan Harapan on its first anniversary in power.
He thanked the voters, and Parti Warisan Sabah president Shafie Apdal, who is chief minister. “Shafie really showed his influence in this election,” said Lim.
“The fact that he could mobilise all the voters to vote for DAP, showed the solidarity of the Sabah government with the federal government led by Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.”