COMMENTARY, Sept 22 — Parti Warisan Sabah (Warisan) is said to have lost nearly 90 per cent of the state’s 16,877 military votes when its candidate for Segama said the 2013 Lahad Datu intrusion was just a drama or ploy.
Both Warisan and its challengers, Perikatan Nasional and Barisan Nasional, previously predicted the incumbent would get 60 per cent of these.
Warisan’s projected share dwindled yesterday and went towards BN-PN, who could this issue to their advantage.
Datuk Mohamaddin Ketapi has apologised but the military personnel are still offended. Caretaker chief minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal was also forced to apologise on the former’s behalf.
The controversy could cost Warisan the momentum it has built up in the campaign.
The Lahad Datu issue has become central for BN-PN that previously found it difficult to penetrate Warisan’s Murut-Suluk and Upko Kadazan-Dusun areas and seats.
Warisan has been unable to defend against this.
Another late issue is the sales tax on palm oil, which Shafie claimed was collected by the federal government.
Former Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) chairman Tan Sri Shahrir Samad rejected this.
Shahrir hit the campaign trail yesterday and said he would rebut this. He said the federal government did not collect a single sen in sales tax on palm oil in his time as MPOB chairman.
These new issues are set to take centre stage from the animosity between BN and Bersatu as both will be busy capitalising on these.
The election campaign that started on September 12 had been tame and civil until Mohamaddin’s remark.
Views that both sides were tied have changed to put BN-PN ahead.
Despite the hundreds of political parties’ flags and banners, the situation in Sabah remained calm as the state’s residents went about their daily routines.
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