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KOTA KINABALU, Nov 8 ― This weekend’s re-election in three Sabah PKR divisions with large memberships could turn the tide in the tight deputy presidential race that Datuk Seri Azmin Ali is currently leading.
Sabah PKR elections coordinator Rosli Masaliku said that the current results, which show incumbent deputy president Azmin ahead of Rafizi Ramli by 3,202 votes, could be different after the weekend’s party polls in Sarawak and the three Sabah divisions.
“The divisions ― Keningau, Pensiangan and Tawau ― have between them 27,000 members and potential votes. Of course, we don’t expect a full turnout, but it could still mean the difference between winning or losing,” said Rosli when contacted by Malay Mail.
“The results now is still not official. We will wait for the new results after this weekend. But for now, yes, Azmin is leading, by 1,611 votes in Sabah,” he said.
Rafizi had on Facebook claimed that he could have gained a 3,000-vote lead against his rival if it had not been for problems in the Sabah polls over the weekend including the lack of printers providing QR codes for voters, a polling centre that was too small to accommodate voters, and poor internet connectivity.
The central leadership announced that a re-election in the three divisions will take place due to the various problems. It will be held on Saturday in Keningau and Tawau and Sunday for Pensiangan.
In Tawau, memberships total over 11,000 while Pensiangan has over 10,000 and Keningau 6,000, according to Rosli. Sabah is known to have the second highest number of PKR members after Selangor at 147,000.
This weekend is the final thrust for both deputy presidential candidates in the PKR elections as the three divisions and Sarawak’s 56,000 members are the last to go to the e-voting polls.
Sarawak is largely favoured to support Azmin, except for the Julau division, which is facing controversy due to its sudden spike in membership from only 603 on June 26 to 13,000 a day later. The party leadership announced today that it considered the Julau surge valid.
In the three Sabah divisions this weekend, Rosli said new measures will be put in place to ensure a smoother voting process, including more tablets and increased police and RELA personnel on standby to keep things in order and prevent provocation.
“We need to ensure the process runs smoothly. We don’t want people barging in and causing chaos.
“The leaders themselves should know to tell their supporters to be disciplined. It works against them when their supporters get rowdy, and they can lose support and also possibly be disqualified,” said Rosli.
Rosli also said that they were working out details with their central leadership to station more local party election committee (JPP) members on duty.
Last weekend, he complained that JPPs from the peninsula had hijacked their duties in overseeing the polls in the state, outnumbering the locals, which was against their earlier agreement.
“The agreement was six to five, which means if the JPP from Sabah is six persons for a division, the JPP from the peninsula is five.
“This time it will be different. I am asking for three to five of them and more than 10 of our own people,” he said.