Batu Sapi Ready To Vote For Change – But For Whom And What?

This by-election in Batu Sapi is seeing an unprecedented amount of activity on the part of the educated Urban Sabahan – Young and Old. There is a never-seen-before sense of wanting change, wanting change from the present to a rosier, better future! First time voters mostly MalaysiaToday Readers and FaceBook Users could make this by-election an election where the urban voter and indeed the young vote count!

The rhetoric and sloganeering of Political parties and willing internet portals and media continue unabated and doesn’t make the choice of who to cast your vote for easier and as one young first time voter-to-be asked me in Sandakan quite innocently – how do I decide who to vote for ba?

Actually the answer to this question is far simpler than you think.

Anyway, I just got back from Sandakan. Batu Sapi to be exact.

Batu Sapi by-elections has a day to conclude, polling day is this November 4th and that’s Deepavali eve. This parliamentary seat has 25,582 voters comprising 15,099 or 59.02 per cent are Muslim bumiputeras, 689 or 2.69 are non-Muslim bumiputeras, 9,737 or 38.06 per cent are Chinese and 57 or 0.22 per cent are others.

This is going to be a close contest between SAPP’s Taiko Yong Teck Lee and PBS/BN’s Datin Linda Tsen Thau Lin who is said to be the favourite in the race, and my friend the third contender, Lawyer Ansari from PKR is having an uphill battle and unlikely to make any impact in this election since falling 2 times into the sea during campaigning.

Normally the voter turnout hovers between 65% to 70% here in Batu Sapi. So at 65% to 70% about 12,000 to 13,000 registered voters are expected to cast their ballots on Nov 4, and this is going to be a very close call.

Would like to talk a little bit about Taiko Yong Teck Lee mainly because he is giving the other contenders in this by-election a run. Sure he does!

Yong Teck Lee unveiled his slogan which he is using to contest this by-election – “Sabah For Sabahans” “Autonomy For Sabah”. Yong Teck Lee in fact hijacked this slogan from PBS as it was the same battle-cry of the Parti Bersatu Sabah 25 years ago that saw PBS unseat the Parti Berjaya state government in 1985.

Yong Teck Lee is also urging voters to take a second look at his SAPP and he has accused the BN and PKR being a West Malaysian party, which is, but true.

But he was together with all of them in one big BARISAN family and was even made Chief Minister for 2 years and had all the chance to highlight all the issues and get the attention of the Federal Government during his many years as part of the ruling coalition, but he did not do so. Yong Teck Lee NEVER raised the issues he is now shouting so loudly about when he was a state minister, deputy chief minister and later as chief minister. How come?

I have a few more questions for Yong Teck Lee.

I wanna know Datuk, before you stepped down as chief minister, how many acres of Sabah agricultural land were given to west Malaysian companies during your 2-year term as chief minister? Plenty right!

How may acres of coastal lands were given to companies and individuals during your 2-year term as chief minister? Most of Kota Kinabalu sea frontage all gone right!

How many acres of forest reserves were given away as Forest Management Units (FMU) and as individual logging concessions during your 2-year term as chief minister? 100,000 acres? More like 100,000 hectares right!

How many logging licenses were issued to private companies to harvest logs from areas within FMUs during your term of office? 5?