KOTA KINABALU: In the 2020 Sabah state election, independent candidate Marcel Jude Joseph increased his vote share by 14%, which translated to just two more votes than the 14 he got in 2013.
Still, he is ready to give it another go in the Nov 19 general election (GE15).
He is in a five-cornered fight for the Kota Kinabalu parliamentary seat against Pakatan Harapan’s Chan Foong Hin, Gabungan Rakyat Sabah’s Yee Tsai Yiew, Warisan’s Amanda Yeo and Parti Kesejahteraan Demokratik Malaysia’s Winston Liaw.
Referring to the heavy losses he suffered in his previous attempts, he told FMT:
“Those are just numbers. It’s the cause that counts. Numbers are irrelevant. The first round, I was an unknown candidate. But it never deterred me.
“Political parties are failures. All the parties contesting in Kota Kinabalu are in one way or another connected to their more powerful counterparts in West Malaysia.
“Voting for them is not a vote for an independent Sabah but a proxy vote for control by West Malaysian parties.”
Another independent candidate, Norbert Chin, is driven by his belief that Sabah politicians have to kowtow to their political masters in Peninsular Malaysia.
“For example,” he said, “the federal budget has always been unfair to Sabah but every year our leaders do not object to it in Parliament. They simply accept it.
“I am offering myself to be the voice of the people, not just on the budget but also onother Sabah rights.”
Chin, like Joseph, is a lawyer. He is vying for the Papar seat.
His last attempt at getting elected was in 1994, when he drew away votes to help Barisan Nasional’s Osu Sukam defeat Parti Bersatu Sabah candidate Ariah Tengku Ahmad by 64 votes in the contest for the Kawang state seat.
He attributes Ariah’s defeat to the 110 votes he obtained.
He is confident he can do much better this time around. He has already visited several villages and said he was delighted with the response he had received so far.
The by-election for the Bugaya state seat, being held simultaneously with GE15, will see 33-year old YouTuber Jufazli Shi Ahmad contest in his second election after failing to win the Tanjong Papat state seat in 2018.
He got only 553 of 10,567 votes cast.
This time, though, he is confident of winning the seat left vacant by the death of Manis Muka Mohd Darah in 2020.
“That was the past,” he said of his performance in 2018. “This time Bugaya is my village. This is my family’s stronghold. I am confident of winning the seat. Besides, most of the voters here are Bajau like me and they know who Jufazli Shi Ahmad is.
“There are so many issues here. We have bad roads, insufficient water supply and rundown public homes. Food is expensive. There is poverty and a lack of development.
“I want to help solve these problems.”
Twenty-one independent candidates will contest in GE15 in Sabah, including the Bugaya by-election.