PH should focus on large margin of victory in Sandakan: Analyst

05 May 2019 / 16:16 H.

PETALING JAYA: Pakatan Harapan (PH) should focus on winning big at the Sandakan by-election as the margin of victory would reflect the support of Sabah voters for the ruling coalition, political analyst Dr Lim Teck Ghee said.

“It’s clear that with the DAP machinery, Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal and Parti Warisan Sabah’s support, and the earlier work of (DAP candidate) Vivien Wong’s father will notch the victory in Sandakan,” he told theSun today.

He said the result should set down a marker for the next general election. “What will be of concern for PH is the margin of victory and what this may mean for Sabah politics,” he said.

“The state’s politicians and political parties (may have to) reposition themselves for the next round of state and national elections.”

In the 14th General Election (GE14), the late Datuk Stephen Wong Tien Fatt of DAP won the Sandakan seat by a huge majority of 10,098 votes, or a 35.95% majority.

While garnering a majority of over 10,000 votes this time may be an uphill task considering the polls are expected to see a considerably lower voter turnout than the 28,668 in GE14, DAP — now represented by Vivian Wong — should look to at least match the percentage difference.

Lim pointed out that despite boasting a convincing candidate in Datuk Linda Tsen Thau Lin, who herself was a two-term parliamentarian for the Batu Sapi seat in Sabah, the lack of unity among the opposition parties in the state could serve as an advantage to DAP.

“The opposition has a credible candidate in Linda Tsen, but is hobbled by the lack of trust and unity among the opposition parties, notably Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) and Star which are going after the same pro-Kadazan and previously anti-BN voters,” he said.

Lim added that compared to previous years under the reign of Barisan Nasional (BN), state rights and autonomy concerns are becoming more prevalent drivers of politics in Sabah and Sarawak today.

He said as such, the promise of greater state autonomy could certainly influence voters. “Whichever parties emerge on top will have to push a more independent line compared with during the BN era,” he said.

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