Another by-election was announced for Sandakan after the death of its MP, Wong Tien Fatt. The two-time Sandakan MP tragically passed away from heart attack on March 27. As the ninth by-election after GE-14, the polling day was set to May 11.
Sandakan has been under DAP administration since 2013. Thus, it is natural for the party to recontest for the seat in the upcoming by-election.
But from the influencers list, the party secretary-general Lim Guan Eng is not that active as compared to Sabah Chief Minister Shafie Apdal.
Despite only coming out with 57 statements, Lim’s name became a trending keyword because of his questionable allocation for the district amidst the by-election. As Finance Minister, he announced projects worth RM2.28 billion for Sandakan on April 23.
As the president of Warisan, an allied party to Pakatan Harapan, Shafie has been supportive towards DAP since day one. He understands that the issue of job and economic opportunities might affect local support. Therefore, he had a discussion with Lim on what needed to be done for Sabah.
On the opposition side, Mohamad Hasan has been back and forth on whether Barisan Nasional will be participating in the by-election. On April 22, he announced that BN will not be contesting, but will support the opposition instead.
When it comes to the trending keywords for the topic “Sandakan PRK”, Pakatan Harapan was constantly mentioned in the media because of its former incumbent Wong Tien Fatt. Besides, DAP had announced its participation in early-April.
On the other hand, Barisan Nasional was considering whether to join the battle or not. Initially, PAS said they are ready to go for Sandakan on April 2 and BN will support. However, this did not go through.
On April 21, BN said that they will contest the seat because of the plummeting palm oil price. But two days later, they decided to sit back.
The interesting part is Parti Bersatu Sabah. The party only announced their participation on April 22, but the media exposure on the party has been similar to PH and BN throughout the month of April.
Previously, it was reported that another Sabah-based party STAR is the one that will be contesting, but the party decided to pave way for PBS.
The last-minute change was made because STAR is in two separate coalitions, Gabungan Bersatu Sabah and Gabungan Sabah. Hence, this is also why PBS has high exposure throughout the month. PBS was mentioned whenever the media report on STAR’s conflict of interest.
PBS, STAR and PBRS formed Gabungan Bersatu Sabah after leaving Barisan Nasional following the coalition defeat in GE-14. Meanwhile, Gabungan Sabah consists of STAR, SAPP, PPRS and PKS.
STAR voiced their support for PBS in the upcoming Sandakan by-election, but will the other parties in Gabungan Sabah do the same?