KIMANIS: Umno today confirmed former Bongawan assemblyman Mohamad Alamin as its candidate for the Kimanis by-election on Jan 18.
The Kimanis Umno chief had been rumoured to be the frontrunner for months.
Sabah Umno chief Bung Moktar Radin said Alamin was the top choice as he was known to voters in the constituency.
He also said this was the first time Sabah Umno had used its autonomy to pick an election candidate.
“We did four rounds of candidate screening, and we believe he is the right candidate to lead Umno-BN to victory in the by-election,” he said at the Kimanis Umno office here today.
He was accompanied by Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, secretary-general Annuar Musa and other party leaders.
Bung, who is Kinabatangan MP, said Alamin had been singled out from six potential candidates.
The Kimanis by-election is expected to see a straight fight between Umno and Warisan.
Warisan has yet to name its candidate although its contender for the 14th general election, Karim Bujang, has been tipped as the frontrunner.
There are 29,644 voters in Kimanis, comprising 42% Muslim Bumiputeras, 41% non-Muslim Bumiputeras and 6% Chinese.
Umno held the federal constituency for three terms through former foreign minister Anifah Aman. However, the seat was declared vacant after the Federal Court upheld an election court’s decision to nullify his win in last year’s polls.
Anifah has indicated that he will not defend his seat in the by-election as he wishes to focus on the 15th general election.
Bung said a victory in Kimanis would jump-start an Umno-BN comeback in the state, adding that other Sabah opposition parties would lend their support as they share a common objective.
He spoke of objection to the Sabah Temporary Pass and what he called the failure of the Warisan and Pakatan Harapan (PH) governments to fulfil their election pledges on the Malaysia Agreement 1963.
“Instead, we have the prime minister, Dr Mahathir Mohamad, wanting Sabah to acquire stakes in Petronas as opposed to raising the state oil royalty from 5% to 20% as was pledged in GE14.”
When asked if former BN partner PBS would be contesting the by-election, Bung said “100%, no”, adding that PBS along with all other opposition parties in Sabah were in the same boat.
Alamin meanwhile said he was optimistic that Umno would win the by-election, and that such a victory would signal his political comeback following his failure to defend the Bongawan state seat in GE14.
“This is the time for Kimanis voters to show Warisan, PH and Upko that they have suffered under their regime.
“We want the Kimanis folks to show the Warisan-led state government and PH federal government that they should not gamble the future of Sabahans.”