On final day, Sabah leaders speak of their election chances

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Warisan president Shafie Apdal and Sabah BN election chief Bung Moktar Radin were the most-travelled leaders of the two biggest parties in the state during these past weeks.

KOTA KINABALU: As the campaign period draws to a close for the 16th Sabah state assembly elections, most party leaders chose to end their gruelling two-week campaign trail on home ground today.

Warisan president Shafie Apdal and Sabah Barisan Nasional election chief Bung Moktar Radin were the most-travelled leaders of the two biggest parties in the state during these past weeks.

Both have criss-crossed the vast state to lend their support for their fellow candidates and garner votes from constituents from the west coast to the interior regions and the sprawling east coast districts.

Speaking to FMT, Bung said his last day of campaigning was in Kinabatangan, of which he is MP, and where lies the new Lamag state seat that he is contesting.

He felt the support for BN and allies in Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) was “very encouraging” during his whistle-stop tour around the state.

“The winds of change are growing and the people are beginning to realise Warisan is not a government that can propel Sabah in all aspects, including the economy, people’s welfare and development,” he said.

”I’m confident BN and GRS (comprising also Perikatan Nasional and PBS) will be victorious tomorrow.”

Shafie, who had carried Warisan Plus, comprising Warisan, Upko, DAP and PKR, on his back since the start of the campaign, was also confident of his coalition’s chances.

In the face of Warisan Plus’ first true test as a coalition in a major election, he told reporters yesterday that he did not want to sound overconfident but that “what he heard on the ground” was pointing to a win for the coalition.

Shafie spent the last day of the campaign period back in Semporna, where he is MP. He is defending his Senallang state seat against four others, including his nephew Norazman Utoh Nain of PN.

Likewise, Parti Cinta Sabah president Anifah Aman, a former federal minister, had also campaigned for candidates in his party, which is contesting all 73 seats, in Keningau, Putatan and Papar, among others.

Anifah, who is contesting the Bongawan state seat, told FMT that during the campaign period, PCS had been getting a good response from Sabahans who believe in the party and what it was offering them.

”I think it’s still premature to be able to say for certain the number of seats PCS can win. ‘Unlike previous elections, we are holding it during a period when the Covid-19 pandemic is hitting us hard.

”But still we have been getting good support. Being relatively new, I would say this is quite an achievement, not just for us but for Sabahans who long for change. I hope this will translate to victory,” he said.

Sabah PN head Hajiji Noor, who is also Sabah PPBM chief, did not veer too far away from his Tuaran parliamentary base these past two weeks, but is nonetheless optimistic of a PN and GRS victory in what is its first election in Sabah.

”The closer it gets to polling day, we are confident that the people want a change in the state government … we will win comfortably,” he told FMT. Hajiji is defending his Sulaman seat in a three-sided affair.

Former chief minister Chong Kah Kiat, of LDP, on the other hand, visited Penampang today to close his party’s campaign trail, meeting people in the famous Donggongon tamu (marketplace).

He told reporters that he hoped voters will give LDP, of which he is the honorary life president, the mandate to form the next state government.

”We hope the people will give LDP the opportunity for us to serve Sabah because our party is clean and has been around for 31 years in the state.

”Almost all of our candidates are young but, most importantly, we are honest,” he said.

More than 1.08 million voters will cast their ballots tomorrow at 741 polling centres tomorrow.

Click here for the latest on the Sabah polls

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