Musa’s Magic Touch To Steer BN Victory In Batu Sapi
KOTA KINABALU Oct 19 – Less than three years after steering the state Barisan Nasional (BN) to a landslide victory in the 2008 general election, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman faces another tough battle to convince voters to rally behind the ruling coalition, this time in a parliamentary by-election.
Musa, who was named the Batu Sapi by-election director for BN yesterday, had proved his mettle and remarkable “political touch” when he led the state ruling coalition in making almost a clean sweep, securing 24 of the 25 parliamentary seats and 59 of the 60 state seats at stake.
Hence, the Sibuga assemblyman had created a history of sorts in the state’s political arena and many BN leaders acknowledged this excellent achievement, so much so that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak fondly tagged Sabah as
the “fixed deposit” for the ruling coalition.
“Musa is a superb and shrewd politician…not many people expected the Chief Minister to lead Sabah BN to that kind of victory in the last elections against the odds, but he did it in style,” said local social and political activist Datuk Patrick Sindu, here, today.
“Despite the numerous challenges facing the state BN at that time, including the allocation of seats, he still managed to form a formidable team…obviously it has the leadership skills to do that.”
Sindu said Musa’s appointment as BN’s Batu Sapi by-election director and Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) president Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan as his deputy was a wise move, which would make it hard for the opposition, namely Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) and Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) to wrest the seat.
“I won’t be surprised if BN retains the seat with a bigger majority in this by-election,” he said, adding that the split opposition was good news for BN.
SAPP and PKR have already decided to field candidates for the by-election, and both parties are confident of notching up good results.
Sindu, however, believed the combined forces of Musa and Pairin would inject the necessary impetus for the BN election machinery to go all out in the contest.
He said the Chief Minister himself had done a lot for the people of Sandakan, including the Batu Sapi constituency.
“Under Musa’s leadership, he has turned Sandakan into an educational hub that will provide opportunities to thousands of students or people in the east coast to shine in education, not to mention the infrastructure development and his competency in managing the state’s economy,” he added.
The by-election is called following the death of its incumbent MP Datuk Edmund Chong Ket Wah in a road accident on Oct 9.
Chong won the seat in the 2008 general election by a 3,708-majority, defeating independent candidate Dr Chung Ong Wing. Chong polled 9,479 votes against Dr Chung’s 5,771.
Batu Sapi has 25,582 voters, of whom 24,047 are ordinary voters and 1,535 postal voters, with 15,099 or 59.02 per cent of the voters being Muslim Bumiputeras, 689 non-Muslim Bumiputeras (2.69 per cent), 9,737 Chinese (38.06 per cent) and others, 57 (0.22 per cent).
The nomination of candidates for the by-election is on Oct 26 and polling is on Nov 4.
Meanwhile, Gerakan vice-president Tan Sri Liew Yun Fah described the appointment of Musa as BN’s Batu Sapi by-election director as timely and appropriate as he represented a state seat in Sandakan.
“As Chief Minister, Musa is in a better position to mobilise the BN election machinery and he has a good personal touch with the grassroots in the area,” he said.
Liew, a former Sabah cabinet minister, is also confident of BN retaining the Batu Sapi seat with a bigger majority.
“The late Chong had served the Batu Sapi constituency well, and I’m sure the people there will still remember his good deeds and vote for BN in the by-election,” he said.
As such, he urged the voters in Batu Sapi to fully support the BN candidate for continued development and a better life ahead.