Najib likely did PBS more harm than good in Sandakan, says analyst

Former prime minister Najib Razak in Sandakan ahead of the by-election there on May 11. (Facebook pic)

KOTA KINABALU: A political analyst has laid some blame on former prime minister Najib Razak for the poor performance of Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) in the Sandakan by-election.

Speaking to FMT, Tony Paridi Bagang of Universiti Teknologi Mara Sabah alleged that Najib, in his one-day appearance in Sandakan, was more interested in gaining political mileage for himself than in garnering support for PBS.

He said the former PM merely played on his “Malu Apa Bossku” tagline, adding that this might have done PBS more harm than good.

“Najib’s tagline may not have helped at all to swing votes to PBS,” he said, adding that voters were probably reminded of his ongoing court case and were put off from voting for PBS, thinking that a vote for it would be a vote for Barisan Nasional (BN), Umno or Najib.

Vivian Wong of DAP, who garnered 16,012 votes, won the Sandakan seat with a majority of 11,521 votes over Linda Tsen of PBS, her closest rival in the five-cornered by-election on May 11.

The vote majority for Vivian was higher than the margin achieved by her late father, Stephen Wong, in last year’s general election.

Najib attracted a crowd of about 300 supporters when he was in Sandakan on May 10.

Bagang said voters must have wondered why PBS was still working with BN despite having left the coalition.

“Despite PBS’ use of its own flag for the first time after so long, the perception was that PBS and BN were still working together,” he said.