KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) President Datuk Seri Panglima Yong Teck Lee said he prefered to stay out of the state election this time around but will do so when a general election is called.
The 16th Sabah election is a sudden occurrence, and as seat negotiation concluded within the Perikatan Nasional coalition, SAPP was allocated only two seats – Luyang and Tanjung Papat.
“SAPP aimed for 10 seats, and then, narrowed them down to four or five in negotiation with other parties.
“Even in the last general election, I stood only for Parliament. I believe my role can be better by being one of the voices from Sabah in Parliament. If there were more space for more candidates from our party, I might have considered contesting in a State seat,” he said.
He also said SAPP’s main purpose of being a member of Perikatan Nasional PN is a new start. A resetting of the Malaysian democratic development. And for Sabah, we have at last, no dominant party, whether local or federal.
We left the Barisan Nasional because we were uncomfortable with the dominance of one party-Umno in the Barisan Nasional.”
On whether it would have considered contesting 73 seats available, he said: “We have never contested all seats even in the last round. We contested only seven seats out of 60 in Gabungan Sabah. You don’t contest 73 seats for the sake of contesting 73 seats.
If we have other parties with the same political struggle and strong candidates, why should we want to clash with them. At the end of the day, it is up to the people how they vote.”
“Tan Sri Muhyiddin’s leadership is well accepted by a lot of people. It’s a fresh start for Malaysia, after all the fighting between Anwar, Mahathir, Mahathir and Najib. Muhyiddin’s leadership is very refreshing. He has solved the economic problem coming from Covid-19. And we are very assured by the MA63 promise and- even assigned a minister to comply with MA63.
At the same time, the Federal government’s making a firm stand on the Philippines’ claim to Sabah and illegal immigrants, he said.”
He said there is a fighting chance for PN under which his party is allied with, to win the Tanjung Papat constituency in Sandakan, if there is a dispersal of votes among the candidates contesting the seat.
“This was a strong DAP area in the last general election and the (Sandakan Parliamentary) by-election. It has moved from black to grey, meaning we have a fighting chance he said.
SAPP held Tanjung Papat which under Datuk Raymond Tan who declined to leave Barisan Nasional (BN) to protect his deputy chief minister, post according to Yong who took SAPP out of BN during Tun Badawi’s tenure as Prime Minister Luyang in Kota Kinabalu, was also last held by SAPP’s Datuk Melanie Chia before losing it to the DAP.
“At the end of the day, the popular votes for Warisan Plus will drop,” he opined, confident of the fighting spirit of his two second echelon candidates Lawyer Ken Yong in Tanjung Papat and Gee Tien Siong in Luyang.
“Gee has been on the ground for many years. He is the vice president of the party. In our party of 26 years, more than a generation, Gee a new face. Ken Yong is a new face. This is a new generation. Ken Yong contested under SAPP in 2013.”
“Ken was our lawyer for the Borneonisation case, suing the State and Federal governments at the time to enforce the Borneonisation programme for Sabah.
He has been consistent fighting for the MA63 as a lawyer. He has got his own law firm. Some people after one time lost, they disappear already. This is what we want. Not people who just want to contest and hoping to be a YB, and if they lose, they disappear.”
Yong said, “this stage of development in Malaysia, including Sabah, there is no dominant party. The ruling Federal government needs the support of Sabah and Sarawak to run the whole nation.
“Therefore, when Tan Sri Muhyiddin formed his Cabinet in March this year, he announced a specific minister in charge of MA63, this gives us hope. And his performance in the last few years has been very good. Muhyiddin has given new hope to Malaysians. In Sabah, there is hope of achieving MA63.” He said economy is the biggest challenge.
Especially during this time you need very close rapport between State and Federal government, political leaders and civil servants. That will give confidence to the private sector. Let’s give this Prihatin plus chance to succeed under Muhyiddin.
By David Thien (DE)