PENAMPANG: Penampang folk will commonly say that if you throw one stone, it will definitely hit someone who will be related to them in someway here.
It is no different during the 14th general election (GE14) here as the fiercest political face off is happening between two cousins from Kampung Limbanak, incumbent Darell Leiking (Warisan) and newcomer Ceasar Mandela Malakun (BN-UPKO), both vying to defend and regain the Penampang seat, respectively.
“This young man is totally a hot item so I’ll have to run a little more, I’ll have to jog a little bit more and I’ll have to wake up a little but earlier because this young man is so strong,” said Leiking in jest
“We are all related somehow or the other,” he explained when asked by the press at the Penampang nomination center in Pusat Kebudayaan Penampang here yesterday.
“This is my big brother,” chimed in Mandela.
“This is my younger brother,” added Leiking.
“In Penampang, the uniqueness is that it is a rock, everybody is together. So in politics of course we oppose each other politically but family is in tact, that has never been in an issue,” explained Leiking, who is the Warisan Deputy President looking to change the government regime in Sabah.
“He will have his political standing and myself likewise but what bonds us is that at the end of the day, at any celebration we are together, at any sadness we are together and, of course, when some of us win 4Digits (lottery), we are together also,” he joked.
“And we are both from Kampung Limbanak,” added Mandela, who plans to unseat Darell and regain the Penampang seat for UPKO.
Leiking and Mandela will also fight another cousin, Dr Cleftus Stephen Spine (GS-STAR), a businessman also from Limbanak who contested under the PASOK ticket for the Moyog seat around 2002 and as an independent candidate for the Kundasang seat in 2013.
“So, its definitely going to be a very, very friendly fight. No personal thing,” said Cleftus.
Two Lasimbang sisters, Jannie, 56, and Jenifer, 44, who are making their political debut will also contest for the Kapayan seat and Moyog seat under the DAP Sabah and Warisan flag respectively.
“Bigger sister look after her,” said Jannie to Jenifer, both avid social activists in Sabah, at the center.
When asked whether she looked up to her bigger sister, Jenifer said “definitely”.
“Because she brought me into United Nations work and I really loved it,” said Jenifer.
“Reciprocate. She brought me to the UN and I brought her to the politics part of things,” she added.
The Lasimbangs calls Leiking their nephew and they are also are second cousins to another Penampang candidate, Kapayan incumbent, Dr Edwin Bosi (Parti Kerjasama Anak Negeri), who won 13,020 votes and a majority of 7287 in a three-corner fight under the DAP Sabah ticket in GE13.
“In Penampang, you take a stone, you throw, you hit your cousin definitely. It’s so close knit in Penampang, either through marriage or through blood,” said Jenifer.
Penampang will see a four-cornered fight for the parliamentary seat between Leiking, Dr Cleftus, Mandela and Dr Bosi.
Moyog will also witness a four-cornered fight for the state seat between incumbent Datuk Dr Donald Peter Mojuntin (BN-UPKO), Jenifer (Warisan), Dennis Julian Tunding (Parti Cinta Sabah) and Aloysius Danim (SAPP, contesting under STAR ticket).
Meanwhile, there will be a three-cornered fight in Kapayan between Datuk Francis Goh (BN-MCA), Chong Pit Fah (SAPP, contesting under the STAR ticket) and Jannie (DAP Sabah).