Polls defeat a wake-up call for Shafie, says Kitingan

BN candidate Mohamad Alamin (centre) was elected Kimanis MP by a 2,029-vote margin over Warisan candidate Karim Bujang on Saturday.

PETALING JAYA: Sabah opposition leader Jeffrey Kitingan views the Barisan Nasional victory at the Kimanis parliamentary by-election as a wake-up call for Warisan president Shafie Apdal.

He said the election result clearly demonstrated the dissatisfaction of Sabahans with the “lackadaisical approach” of the Warisan-led state government to the controversial Sabah Temporary Pass for migrants.

At yesterday’s by-election, BN candidate Mohamad Alamin defeated Karim Bujang of Warisan by a margin of 2,029 votes, retaining a seat held by the former ruling party for three terms.

In a statement issued today, Kitingan, who is president of Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (STAR), said that the election result reflected the people’s sentiments against the policies of Shafie’s government, such as the temporary pass (known as PSS).

The pass, to be implemented in June, will replace three different identification papers held by migrants in Sabah. The plan has met criticism from various parties.

Kitingan said his party’s efforts to caution the federal and state governments on the issue seemed to have fallen on deaf ears.

“The lackadaisical approach by both the federal and state government show that they are not listening to the concerns of Sabahans over PSS, and the overall handling of illegal immigrant issues in Sabah,” he said.

He accused the government of being “hell-bent on implementing PSS” and “shoving it down the throats of Sabahans” despite the majority being against it.

Warisan’s leaders should go to the ground and listen, Kitingan said. “The people feel sidelined. The people are nervous. The people are scared,” said Kitingan.

He said the state government had distracted the people from the real issues at hand by engaging in a “smoke and mirrors approach” to governing, which was evident in the announcements of billion-ringgit projects and supposed foreign direct investments that have yet to come to fruition.

“Ironically, most of what we see these days are Warisan ministers cutting ribbons to officiate projects planned and implemented by the previous government,” said Kitingan.