Sabah BN ‘sensibly’ confident

The State of Sabah

A Barisan Nasional loyalist in Sabah thinks the threat of a growing opposition is good for BN’s younger politicians.

Pushparani Thilaganathan, FMT

Sabah Barisan Nasional seems unfazed by the spins spewing out of the political rumour mill and are confident of retaining the state albeit having more opposition faces in the state assembly and losing some parliamentary seats.

But that’s alright, says Sekong assemblyman Samsuddin Yahya because Umno BN is ‘overall’ confident about its voters loyalty and will not lose its clout in the upcoming 13th general election.

“We are not worried about the Muslim and KDM (KadazanDusunMurut) votes. We are confident. Only the Chinese seats worry us. KK (Kota Kinabalu) is most a difficult seat for us because it is majority Chinese,” he told FMT recently.

He was alluding to the widespread reports that the opposition was making damaging inroads into the Muslim and KDM communities in the state and that the state BN could lose up to 20 parliamentary seats in the next election

Samsuddin’s Sekong constituency comprises both these communities and some Chinese.

Sekong and Karamunsing sectors come under BN-Parti Bersatu Sabah held Batu Sapi parliamentary constituency. The Batu Sapi parliamentary constituency is adjacent to Sandakan bordering Libaran and Kinabatangan. Sandakan is a pipeline of BN loyalists.

In the 2010 Batu Sapi by-election, BN won the seat by a 6,359 vote majority. PBS rode on Umno’s support against a divided opposition.

BN-PBS candidate Linda Tsen faced off with PKR’s Ansari Abdullah and Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) president Yong Teck Lee. At that time SAPP was attempting an alliance with Pakatan Rakyat but seat allocations was always the issue.

BN, said Samsuddin, is confident of retaining the Batu Sapi parliamentary seat this time round. And again local observers add, it will be because the opposition coalition is still divided.

For reasons best known to the local political circles here, SAPP can’t seem to gel with the opposition parties, all of whom are clamouring to lead the people into the next general election. No group seem to want SAPP.


A former chief minister under the Sabah CM-rotation system, Yong’s personal and political history has much to do with this.

The politics here spout a love-hate relationship with him. Some don’t trust Yong, others hate his guts.

But Umno, it appears is good with him. A local political analyst went so far as to say “Umno needs him before and after GE. They’re old flames”

Whilst in the BN coalition, SAPP contested in four seats and won with Umno’s help two parliamentary and two state.

But SAPP quit the coalition in 2008 and has since been in the wilderness, having tried to hook up with Pakatan and then local State Reform Party (STAR) under Jeffrey Kitingan but to no avail.

Now its four seats are being horse-traded within BN with every other partner in the party staking a claim.

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