KOTA KINABALU, Nov 20 – Upko president Datuk Madius Tangau has pulled out a surprise win in the Tuaran seat, successfully defending his seat for the second term against crowd favourite Datuk Joniston Bangkuai.
Parti Bersatu Sabah’s Bangkuai was speculated to win, having garnered 24,710 votes, the highest among any of Sabah’s GRS-BN candidates -- but in the end he was 233 votes behind Tangau.
Tangau’s win can be attributed to the “red wave” for Pakatan Harapan which came in halfway through the campaign period, although he claimed that the campaign started off on a good foot following president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s visit on October 31.
“I’m very happy. This is actually the people’s victory,” Tangau said.
“The tide has actually always been with me but they just didn’t see it.” he said.
Parti Bersatu Sabah’s Datuk Joniston Bangkuai was speculated to win.
Bangkuai, who had the backing of Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor’s homeground machinery, is also assistant Tourism, Culture and Environment minister and Kiulu assemblyman.
“We were aware of the tough challenge but the fight against corruption was quite strong, especially with Anwar being the symbol of the fight and as our prime minister candidate,” Tangau said.
Bangkuai, in a statement, said that he remains committed and dedicated to helping Tuaran grow.
“During the election campaign, I had the opportunity to visit many places within the Tuaran parliamentary constituency and see for myself the needs of the people and the opportunities we can create that benefit the people.
“I've made some notes of ideas on how to grow Tuaran in a way that's consistent with the Sabah Maju Jaya development plan,” he said.
The fight for the Tuaran seat was touted to be among the seats to watch in Sabah as a grudge match between the two where Tangau had previously lost the Kiulu state contest in 2020 to Bangkuai.
Tangau was re-elected as Tuaran MP with 24,943 votes while Warisan’s Joanna Sue Henley Rampas came in third with 5,728 votes. Three other candidates lost their deposits.
He had won in GE14 on a Barisan Nasional ticket but caused an upset by defecting to partner up with Warisan to form the state government.
The party was all but written off after the 2020 Sabah snap election when the party lost all but one of the 12 seats it contested then.
Tangau's victory in Tuaran this time, along with the Penampang seat, is seen as a boost for the party.