KOTA KINABALU, Oct 31 — Muda will make its maiden foray into Sabah politics with the candidacy of its vice-president and former chief Shahrizal Denci for the Kota Marudu seat in the coming general election (GE15).
Muda deputy chairman Amira Aisya Abdul Aziz announced Denci and described him as a “modern farmer” who was chosen by the party’s Sabah counterparts.
Denci, 40, who grew up in Ranau, is a graduate in computer engineering.
He said that the main thrust of his struggle is to uplift the farmers in the Kota Marudu district, who make up more than half of the population.
He said that with his interest and passion in the agriculture industry, he understood the struggles of the farmers who have been battling against the low price of produce and a lack of understanding from local leaders.
Speaking of the former glories of paddy farming, Denci said that he has been working on the ground in Kota Marudu for a while and wants to represent them.
“Kota Marudu is close to my heart. I have been on the ground, spending a lot of time with them, and understand their struggles. I would like to fight for them and hope they accept me as an idealist,” he said.
When asked whether they felt Muda president’s Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman’s court case would affect their chances, Shahrizal said that from feedback he’s received, the people in Kota Marudu sympathised with him.
“I don’t think Syed Saddiq’s case will affect our chances. They see him as championing rights and being persecuted. Either way, he’s not been convicted yet, so we are respecting the due process,” he said.
He also said that despite the representation of a veteran politician in the district, Kota Marudu remains far behind and lacked basic infrastructure like water and roads.
“It’s unheard of that in this day and age of 2020, a father had to carry his dead child home on foot for an hour because road conditions were so poor,” he said.
Denci will likely be going up against political heavyweights Parti Bersatu Sabah president Datuk Maximus Ongkili, who has held the seat since 1995, and Umno-turned-Bersatu-turned-Parti Kesejahteraan Demokratik Malaysia (PKDM) leader Datuk Wetrom Bahanda.
Warisan’s candidate is Datuk Jilid Kuminding, a former diplomat who has served as the Malaysian envoy to Jordan.
Malaysians will head to the polls for GE15 on November 19, with early voting set for November 15.