KOTA KINABALU: They are young and inexperienced in politics, but don’t count them out just yet.
With state politics in a state of flux, the younger generation has stepped up, convinced that they have a good chance of playing a more central role in Sabah politics by taking part in the coming state assembly elections.
Janrywine Liusin, 42, from Sabah’s southwestern Papar district is one of those who wants to contest. He said young people might lack experience but they had good knowledge and the ability to articulate well on issues affecting the state.
A local celebrity as the singer of the locally popular song “Macam Di KK”, Janrywine says he is inclined to stand as an independent candidate, but remains open to offers from political parties.
He feels those who stand as independents or take a neutral position have a better chance of winning. “People are saying that independent or neutral candidates can win because Sabahans are fed up with the situation now,” he told FMT.
He explained that the collapse of the Pakatan Harapan government as well as political instability in the state, which brought about the snap election, were some of the issues people were upset with.
“Don’t underestimate independent candidates – former Parti Bersatu Sabah president Joseph Pairin Kitingan stood on an independent ticket in 1984 against the Berjaya government and he went on to win.
“After that he formed PBS and they won almost all the seats in the following election… so I am taking that spirit with me going into this election,” he said.
Janrywine wants to contest either the Limbahau or Kawang state seats, both under the Papar parliamentary constituency where he stays.
Meanwhile, Jeff Lu, who is tipped to stand for Parti Cinta Sabah in Likas, an urban seat under the Kota Kinabalu parliamentary area, said it was time for some new blood to join in the fight.
“The people here deserve more. The younger generation have new ideas and solutions where the old ones have failed,” said the 37-year-old businessman.
“I believe the reason why it’s time for me to take a stand is because I know for sure, as a young business person, I need to start serving the people and lead them to a better tomorrow.
“Living in Likas my whole life has been an eye opener as I have seen with my own eyes many changes, good and bad. I would love to help make Likas a safer, more beautiful and business-friendly place, and in the near future, an educational hub for Sabah,” he said.
Lu said he was optimistic about his chances should he contest but that he’d leave it to the people to decide.
“But I promise to give my very best in serving if given the chance.”
Another political novice who plans to enter the fray is Raymond Alfred, a native of Tamparuli, a semi-rural seat under the Tuaran parliamentary constituency.
“Since this is my first foray into politics, the biggest challenge is to introduce myself to the community in Tamparuli, which has between 15,500 and 16,000 people, and to tell them what I can do for them,” he told FMT.
As an environmental conservationist for the past 30 years, Alfred, who has a doctorate in ecology, believes he can share his expertise, knowledge and network to create a sustainable socio-economy for Sabahans.
“I may not be able to win 100% of the Tamparuli people’s support in this coming election, but I will continue to contribute my knowledge to ensure the youth there have a strong direction to protect and manage Tamparuli’s ecological, economic and social issues sustainably.”