SANDAKAN: The nomination process for the Sandakan by-election will begin at 9 am at Dewan Aktiviti Sekolah Menengah Jenis Kebangsaan (SMJK) Tiong Hua here.
A drizzle did not stop supporters of the candidates gathering in force to accompany them to the nomination centre.
DAP supporters gathered at the BDC Light Industrial Zone nearby while those backing the PBS candidate at Bandar Maju, which is also just a stone’s throw away.
Several access routes to SMJK Tiong Hua were closed and were under heavy guard by police as early as 6 am.
The candidates have an hour till 10 am to file in their nomination papers before returning officer Mohd Hamsan Awang Supain announces the names of the candidates qualified to contest, which will be at 11 am.
The Sandakan parliamentary seat fell vacant after the incumbent Datuk Stephen Wong Tien Fatt died of a heart attack at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Kota Kinabalu on March 28
So far, the DAP has announced Wong’s youngest child Vivian Wong Shir Yee, 30, as the party’s candidate, while Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) is expected to field former Batu Sapi MP Datuk Linda Tsen Thau Lin, 63.
Another three individuals have expressed interest in running as Independents, namely businessman Chia Siew Yung, former administrative assistant at the Sandakan parliamentary constituency service centre, Sulaiman Samat and former founding member of Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) Sabah, Hamzah Abdullah.
Early voting is on May 7 and polling on May 11.
The Sandakan parliamentary constituency has two state constituencies, namely Tanjong Papat and Elopura with a total of 40,131 eligible voters, including 270 early voters and five absentee voters.
Wong was first elected as Sandakan MP in the 13th General Election (GE13) in 2013 when he defeated Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate Datuk Leong Vui Keong with a majority of 1,088 votes.
In GE14 last May , he defended the seat with a majority of 10,098 votes against BN candidate Datuk Lim Ming Hoo. — Bernama