Pakatan’s ‘parachute candidates’ shock

Jimmy

KOTA KINABALU: The “shocking” decision of Pakatan Rakyat (PR) in “parachuting” Jimmy Wong of DAP and Roland Chia of PKR into Kota Kinabalu parliamentary and Inanam state seats respectively have inccurred the wrath of fellow opposition members and voters.

They said the move was a grave mistake that might deal a fatal blow to DAP’s chances in defending Kota Kinabalu, which was the only parliamentary seat the opposition won in the 2008 general election through the then Sabah DAP chief Hiew King Chiu.

A senior PKR leader here contended that Kota Kinabalu and the state seats of Api Api and Luyang were originally allocated to PKR.

He said the decision to field Jimmy, who is from Tawau, as the candidate here was regarded as a great insult to the people here as it suggested that none among the pool of local opposition leaders in this area was qualified or winnable.

“Jimmy is the incumbent for Sri Tanjung seat, so it is only right for him to stay put there and defend his seat. He runs away because he knows the people of Tawau have rejected him, otherwise there is no sensible reason for him to come and contest here,” claimed the leader who declined to be named.

He said the PKR leadership had initially chosen Christina Liew, who heads the PKR Kota Kinabalu division, as the candidate for Kota Kinabalu, and her deputy Dr CY Vun as the candidate for Api Api, while lawyer Joan Goh was initially tipped to contest Luyang seat.

He said however, State DAP chief Jimmy got himself nominated on Monday as the candidate for Kota Kinabalu in exchange for Inanam state seat, which was originally allocated to DAP with Sabah DAP deputy chairman Edward Mujie as the candidate. As a result, Sabah PKR information chief Dr Roland Chia was nominated to contest Inanam.

Chia was actually eyeing to contest in Kepayan but under the PR’s seat distributions arrangement, the seat has been allocated to DAP, he said.

Mujie, who joined the DAP some seven years has quit the party and joined the Barisan Nasional (BN) through Upko on April 8 this year, just days after the exit of DAP Kepayan head Stephen Jimbangan who also joined Upko.

It is learned that Jimbangan was keen to contest the Kepayan seat which has been given to State DAP secretary Dr Edwin Bosi.

The other “casualties” in the last minute changes were Dr CY Vun and Joan Goh, both of whom were left out in the nomination for Api Api and Luyang constituencies.

Christina who was supposed to stand in Kota Kinabalu was instead nominated as the candidate for Api Api, while Hiew was selected for Luyang.

It is said that Hiew was initally dropped but managed to get himself nominated for Luyang following an intense elevanth hour lobbying for the seat with the party’s central leadership in Kuala Lumpur.

The PKR leader said the announcement of PKR and DAP’s “amended” lists of candidates on Wednesday evening came as a shock not only to the leaders of the two opposition parties but also to the members and supporters.

A diehard DAP supporter who identified himself as Wong said the decision to “parachute” Jimmy as the opposition candidate is totally unacceptable to the party’s supporters and electorates here.

He said the PR made a big mistake in choosing an “outsider” and this will boost the chances of BN in wresting Kota Kinabalu seat from the opposition.

The contest for the constituency, which is one of the few Chinese-majority seats in Sabah, is shaping up to be a straight fight between the opposition and the BN.

Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) supreme council member Chin Tek Ming has been re-nominated as the BN candidate for the seat.

In the 2008 general election, Hiew won the seat with a slim-majority of 106 votes in a four-cornered tussle. He polled 9464 votes, while Christina of PKR received 9358, Chin (8420) and independent Kong Yu Kiong (341).

Meanwhile, Dr Roland is also facing a multi-cornered fight in Inanam involving veteran politician Datuk Eric Majimbun from SAPP and a newcomer from Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS), Joseph Paulus Lantip who replaced incumbent Datuk Johnny Goh.

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