COMMENTARY, Sept 16 — The campaign for the Sabah election has shown the race to be between Barisan Nasional and caretaker chief minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal’s Warisan Plus coalition.
Parti Warisan Sabah still commands support among Shafie’s native Bajau community, which are the majority in 16 of the 53 of the seats it is contesting.
This could change as voting is 10 days away. BN and Perikatan Nasional could catch up.
BN is banking on its past performance as the state government prior to 2018, helping Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) that is relatively new despite the popularity of its president, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
Voters in Kota Kinabalu are more keen to see the return of BN as they believe the state was more stable and had developed better.
This Sabah election is a free-for-all. There are 11 parties and 447 candidates contesting 73 state seats.
Some voters may protest against state leaders and their parties for ignoring voters’ welfare.
Some voters have dismissed the new Parti Cinta Sabah (PCS) as a half-baked political product. Others see the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) as recycled.
However, some believe PCS has potential but needs time to mature. Even the youth the party was targeting said it was not yet fully developed.
Many young voters said they are not against the federal government, so the election is about the state government’s relationship with Putrajaya.
“We need the federal government for development and treating it as enemy is a grave mistake,” said Musli Oli, an activist who has been in the local political scene the last 40 years.
One voter said the Malaysia Agreement 1963 is not an issue but rather development.
He and some locals said PCS should be ready when the general election is due in two years.
PCS chief Datuk Seri Anifah Aman was put under pressure when the state assembly was dissolved and he jumped into the ring unprepared. The party might not recover if it loses badly in this election.
PCS is a new party without product as it is selling the same thing as Warisan, Sabah for Sabahans. Locals consider this a joke.
With 10 more days to voting, the current situation suggests Warisan and BN will be the main contenders.