Modest expectations in two new Sabah seats

The new state seat of Darau is synonymous with flash floods, like those that hit parts of Sabah recently.

KOTA KINABALU: With two days to go before they have a YB to call their own for the first time, voters at two new constituencies in Sabah can only dare to harbour modest expectations for their soon-to-be elected representatives.

While they have got used to hearing campaign promises of more development, those in Darau just north of the city and Limbahau, about 30km south of here, only want some long-standing problems in their respective areas to be resolved.

Darau and Limbahau are among the 13 new seats created from the electoral boundary re-delineation some five years ago and are being contested for the first time in the state election on Saturday.

Mention the word Darau to dragon boat enthusiasts, and among the immediate response is “powerhouse” as teams from the area have emerged victorious time and again at the annual Sabah international dragon boat festival.

But for residents of the area, like entrepreneur Francis @ Amin Simon and former teacher Sarina Abdullah, Darau is synonymous with the regular flash floods that inundate the villages after almost every heavy rainfall.

“The problem is poor drainage and countless YBs have pledged to do something, yet the problem persists. So our hope now is that our very own YB will make sure this is finally resolved,” Sarina said.

The proposed Kaiduan dam, later replaced by the Papar dam, is a hot issue in Limbahau.

Amin, who has been living in Darau for nearly two decades, said the area seemed to be lagging in terms of development compared with other nearby suburbs like Inanam and Alam Mesra.

Over the past 20 years, Amin has seen a rapid rise in the population and a variety of businesses at Darau that partially used to be part of the Likas and Karambunai constituencies.

The fight to win the hearts of Darau’s 18,350 voters like Francis is a five-cornered contest that includes BN’s Jumat Idris, who is making a comeback in this polls after being suspended from Umno in 2015 for openly criticising former chief minister Musa Aman and was forced to stay out of the 2018 general election (GE14).

Over at Limbahau, located within the Papar district, local resident Edward Dagul said among the pressing issues their first-ever YB will have to deal with is the proposed Kaiduan dam that has been mired in controversy since it was mooted by the BN state government more than five years ago.

Warisan Plus had voiced its opposition to the project in the run-up to GE14 but the coalition has since reversed its stance with caretaker chief minister Shafie Apdal announcing that construction of the dam would proceed.

Edward said another pressing issue the elected representative for Limbahau will have to tackle is the need for a fully residential secondary school at the inland area to cater for students from villages along the Crocker Range, such as Kaiduan and Mandalipau.

He said their incoming YB would also need to tackle the problem of poor cellphone reception in the inland areas of Limbahau.

On Saturday, Limbahau voters will choose one of eight candidates contesting to be their first elected representative in the state assembly.

Like other elected representatives, the YBs for Sabah’s 13 new constituencies will have their work cut out for them after Saturday’s polls.

Click here for the latest on the Sabah polls