SAPP, PKR to ponder what went wrong in Batu Sapi polls
SANDAKAN: Batu Sapi people woke up to see little signs of the just concluded by-election as posters and banners have disappeared overnight.
Sandakan Muncipal Council and the respective party workers removed most of the election paraphernalia while poor families carted away plywood boards to patch up their homes at water villages and in shanty immigrant settlements.
They had enjoyed some good moments in the past nine-days of campaigning.
Huddled in coffee shops yesterday, they discussed the thumping majority scored by Barisan Nasional’s Datin Linda Tsen Thau Lin of Parti Bersatu Sabah.
She won by a majority of 6,359, almost doubled that garnered by her late husband Datuk Edmund Chong Ket Wah who obtained a majority of 3,708 in 2008 general election.
Supporters of PKR’s Ansari Abdullah and Datuk Yong Teck Lee of Sabah Progressive Party are still trying to figure out what turned the political tide against their candidates.
The voting trend turned to Barisan’s favour when Umno held on to its grip on 80% of the Muslim bumiputra voters who formed the majority in nine of the 12 polling centres in the Batu Sapi parliament constituency.
From the remaining three Chinese polling centres, Barisan, surprisingly, grabbed 40% of the votes.
PKR, through its DAP partner, thwarted any effort by SAPP to draw away the Chinese votes which appeared to be with Yong in the first few days of campaigning.
The results showed that in the Chinese majority polling centres of Sekong, Cecily and Tanah Merah, Barisan grabbed 1,697 votes compared to opposition total of 2,569 votes.
“We only lost in one of the 45 streams. We made inroads in Chinese areas,” said state Barisan secretary Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan.
A pro-Barisan observer said Yong’s gambit in the by-election could have far more serious implications for SAPP than for PKR.
Known as the taiko of the Hakka community, party insiders said that Yong’s immediate task was not only to regain Chinese support, but how to keep the morale of his party high for the next elections.
The worst case scenario for him would be his members deserting SAPP and moving to PKR or DAP, said a former party leader.
For PKR, its second placing vindicated its decision to contest in Batu Sapi even if it split opposition votes.