Azmin steals a march on rivals in Sabah

By Rahmah Ghazali and Fazy Sahir, Free Malaysia Today

PETALING JAYA: The battle to wrest the deputy presidency post went into a crucial stage today when Azmin Ali led the second round of party elections in Sabah, creating a neck-and-neck race with rival Zaid Ibrahim.

Azmin, who is now leading with 1,060 votes from eight divisions from the state, breezed through leaving behind his contender Zaid, who bagged 824 votes, with a majority of 236 votes.

Meanwhile, third contender Mustaffa Kamil Ayub lagged behind with only 40 votes.

Azmin’s performance was impressive despite his “unpopularity” in Sabah after a fallout with several divisional leaders who demanded his removal as the party state chief last year.

Although the divisional leaders had swung their support to Zaid, the outcome today indicated that Azmin still commands centre-stage.

According to the latest unofficial tally provided to FMT, Zaid has, however, put up a tough fight in several divisions, including Kota Belud (137 votes), Kudat (138), Kota Kinabalu (162), and Keningau (169).

Azmin prevails in Sandakan, Beaufort

Initially, Zaid made big gains but Azmin managed to catch up when he bagged 417 votes in Sandakan alone as opposed to Zaid’s 25.

The race also went Azmin’s way in Beaufort and Papar where he garnered 223 and 124 votes respectively to Zaid’s 58 and 28 votes.

Meanwhile in Ranau, Azmin garnered 153 votes, defeating Zaid who gained 107 votes and Mustaffa’s 10 votes.

Although Zaid fell in Sabah, he, however, prevailed in the peninsula, when the only division in Pasir Mas cast its lot today for the Kelantanese-born lawyer.

He took 53 votes, defeating Azmin who only managed with 35 votes. Mustaffa had nothing.

However, results from Libaran has yet to come in. But according to a source close to Azmin, the wind is likely to blow his way.

After two weeks of polling, the overall results indicated that Azmin is leading comfortably with 4,146 votes to Zaid’s 3,406 – a 740-vote majority.

Mustaffa, who is still struggling, has only managed to bag 1,219 votes.