By BORNEOTODAY REPORTERS
SANDAKAN: People in this east coast town desire change and wish for Parti Warisan Sabah to contest in two Sandakan state seats of Elopura and Tanjung Papat.
Shirley Chien, the Parti Warisan Batu Sapi deputy Coordinator has proposed to party’s leadership that they should contest in all the state seats in Sandakan claiming that the year-old opposition party could deliver the seats.
“It’s no secret that irrespective of race and religion, the people of Sandakan want to see change and the feedback that I got is very clear that they want a local party, and not just another opposition winning one more seat,” she said in a statement.
She said this statement is made not at the spur of the moment or just to trumpet a political statement, but spoken out after many months of people-oriented programs such as walkabouts and face-to-face meetings with the people.
The voters’ desire for change, according to Shirley, a former PBS division leader, is mainly: –
1. Cost of living is getting higher while standard of living is getting lower and lower;
2. The economy is so bad and the business communities are closing down shops and many have moved out of Sandakan, no thanks to GST implementation;
3. Unemployment is high as Sandakan has nothing to offer for the people. There are barely no new job opportunities. Youths are moving to big cities and Sandakan has become a massive ‘old folks home. It is sad that Sandakan, once a thriving town but now slowly dying out as a ghost town.
4. Tourists are getting lesser because of the security concerns. Sandakan has lost her glory as the little Hong Kong of the 60s and 70s.
“Surprisingly, all these years the Sandakan state seats of Karamunting, Tanjung Papat and Elopura, which are Chinese-majority seats have been won by BN despite all the problems,” pointed out Shirley.
“Even though BN has failed in developing Sandakan from the economic point of view, why the BN continued to win these seats was because the people feared losing out if they supported the opposition.
“They knew the opposition then would not be able to form the government even if they won a few seats; but now, with Parti Warisan in the picture, the scenario has changed and this time around, a local-based opposition party can win and form the government.”
According to Shirley, Sandakan voters have longed for a Sabah party that can be accepted by all races namely Malays, KDMs and Chinese in order to wrestle these 3 seats from the BN.
“The Chinese community understand by now that we need to combine our votes with fellow Muslim Sabahans in order to stand a good chance to defeat BN in Sandakan,” she added.
“The timing and party is right now. Malay support is moving away from Umno-BN while the Kadazandusun are ditching parties like PBS and Upko to unite under Warisan.”
Elopura and Tanjung Papat were once PBS strongholds, but their elected representatives ditched Pairin Kitingan once to join SAPP, and soon after, they left the Yong Teck Lee-led SAPP for Gerakan.
The Karamunting state seat is held by Charles Pang, for the LDP and it comes under the Batu Sapi parliament constituency.
Elopura is held by Aw Kam Wah while Raymond Tan is Assemblyman for Tanjung Papat. DAP chief for Sabah Stephen Wong is the Sandakan MP.