Sabah election: Parties going all out to win hearts and minds of voters ahead of Saturday’s polls

Workers are pictured putting up a poster of STAR president Datuk Jeffrey Kitingan in Tambunan September 24, 2020. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
Workers are pictured putting up a poster of STAR president Datuk Jeffrey Kitingan in Tambunan September 24, 2020. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

KOTA KINABALU, Sept 24 ― In less than 48 hours before the polling for the Sabah state election, most contesting parties are going all-out to win the hearts and minds of voters in choosing their 73 representatives.

They left no stone unturned in reaching out to 1.12 million voters by utilising their election machineries for small-scale ceramah, house-to-house visit, face-to-face campaign, as well as on social media, amid the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Candidates from the two major coalitions ― Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) which comprises Perikatan Nasional (PN), Barisan Nasional (BN) and Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS), and Warisan Plus representing the former state government ― were seen to be campaigning from early morning to almost midnight every day in every corner of the state.

About 300km from here, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who is also PN chairman, attended several meet-and-greet events with the locals in Beluran, before proceeded to a similar event in Sandakan and returned to the city to join the Ceramah Perdana of GRS component party presidents in the evening.

A worker is seen removing posters of PBS candidate Silverius Bruno after the party withdrew from the race to support STAR candidate Datuk Jeffrey Kitingan in Tambunan September 24, 2020. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
A worker is seen removing posters of PBS candidate Silverius Bruno after the party withdrew from the race to support STAR candidate Datuk Jeffrey Kitingan in Tambunan September 24, 2020. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

In Sulaman, Sabah Bersatu chief Datuk Hajiji Noor continued his campaign trail to ensure that he had met with every single voter in the constituency, besides attending meetings with the party’s election machinery to get the feedback and updates on their campaign.

Also having a packed schedule in Sabah was former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak as he was spotted to have joined the campaign for BN candidates to win the hearts of voters in Sandakan, Libaran, Batu Sapi and Kinabatangan.

Sabah BN chairman and Umno chief Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin, who is contesting in the new seat of Lamag where he is facing a five-cornered fight, on the other hand, chose to remain at the constituency during this final lap of campaign.

Among his activities were taking a boat ride to the interior areas to meet with the voters, distribute the pamphlets on BN manifesto, attend ceramah, solat hajat and other community programmes.

Meanwhile, PBS spokesman said their deputy president, Datuk Seri Radin Malleh, also had a packed schedule over the next 48 hours and would continue with the campaign to win votes in Melalap.

He is in a six-cornered fight for the seat which has 13,990 voters.

An election poster of Warisan president Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal is seen in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah September 20, 2020. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
An election poster of Warisan president Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal is seen in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah September 20, 2020. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

Sabah Chief Minister cum Warisan president Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal, his team had chosen to reach out to the voters in Kota Kinabalu, Tawau and Semporna by participating in an event with youths, visiting Pekan Merotai Besar and attending meet-and-greet events including at night.

Meanwhile, political analyst Dr Syahruddin Awg Ahmad said it was important for GRS and Warisan Plus to include the message of togetherness in their campaign, while at the same time giving emphasis on the people’s welfare, safety and health.

“The Sabah people are currently being taunted by many Covid-19 clusters and the number of positive cases reported in the state was not declining. Hence, a message to fish for votes incorporated in a message on prevention of Covid-19 will be more effective right now.

“This is because the people want assurance of their safety, health and wellbeing and if the message is being bandied about by any candidate, he or she and the party will be deemed more relevant to take care of the people in the future,” he said. ― Bernama

Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (STAR) flags are pictured in Menggatal, Sabah September 22, 2020. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (STAR) flags are pictured in Menggatal, Sabah September 22, 2020. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

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