KIMANIS, Jan 16 — Traveling through hilly areas, surrounded by forests and rubber fields and through dirt roads can be challenging and tiring if you want to visit all the villages in Kimanis.
However, that did not prevent Parti Warisan Sabah (Warisan) candidate Datuk Karim Bujang from travelling to meet the people because he is aware of the importance of community support besides meeting them to clarify various issues and tell them his plans if he was elected as their representative.
With just two days left to the Kimanis by-election on Jan 18, Karim continues meeting and greeting the people to woo as many voters as possible, and he even visited the same places again before the campaigning ends at 11.59 pm tomorrow (Jan 17).
Until yesterday, Karim kept his campaign momentum by visiting all 19 voting districts in Kimanis and met voters in the constituency that has 29,664 registered voters including nine early voters and one overseas absentee voter.
For Karim, the face-to-face approach with the people is important, and he has been practicing this since he entered politics in 1990 until his last term as Bongawan state assemblyman in 2013.
“To reciprocate the trust and support, I get closer to the community and voters. All the people’s concerns should be addressed, need to help them enjoy the fruits of their support.
“I have never parted with supporters and they know where and how to contact me when there is a need to do so,” he told Bernama in an interview recently.
During the Kimanis parliamentary by-election campaign, Karim also used a two-pronged strategy with the slogan ‘Cuti-Cuti Balik Kampung Jumpa Ibu, Bapa, Mentua and Saudara Mara (Going Back to the Hometown Meet Father, Mother, the In-laws and Relatives) to encourage voters to make the trip back home to cast their votes.
He said such an approach could attract more constituents living in Kota Kinabalu and Labuan to return to their respective villages and at the same time spend more time with their family and relatives after fulfilling their responsibilities as voters.
Karim also explained that the opposition played up some issues such as the Pan Borneo Highway project and Sabah Temporary Pass, to gain voters’ support in the election.
In clarifying the two key issues, Karim was not alone as he was assisted by Warisan President Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal, who almost daily came down to Kimanis to explain the issues and to inform about the state government’s plans for the constituency.
Warisan’s political allies — Pakatan Harapan and United Progressive People of Kinabalu Organisation (UPKO) also assisted in the campaigning which includes prominent leaders such as Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Parti Keadilan Rakyat president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
The Kimanis by-election on Saturday (Jan 18) will be a straight fight between Karim and Barisan Nasional’s Datuk Mohamad Alamin.
The campaigning atmosphere, so far, has been in a peaceful environment in line with the racial and religious harmony in the state, which enables everyone to sit together despite different political views.
Meanwhile, in Labuan, Karim has left it to the voters to decide the future of Kimanis for the next three years before the 15th General Election.
“As an individual who has been long involved in Sabah’s politics, it would be appropriate for me to allow the voters to determine the future of Kimanis. We should not choose the path not favoured by the voters.
“I am confident that the voters are matured enough to make their decision on the polling day this Saturday,” he told Bernama here today.
Throughout the campaigning period since the nomination day, Karim said he saw many people wanted reforms in the administration of the two districts of Bongawan and Membakut.
“I do not deny that some of them have raised concerns in the process of appointing village council representatives, which will be taken note of as it is of interest to the villagers,” he said.
Kimanis, which comprises the Bongawan and Membakut state constituencies, has 29,664 eligible voters including nine early voters and one absentee who is overseas. The gender breakdown is 14,800 men and 14,864 women. Bongawan has 16,273 voters and Membakut 13,391.
There are about 700 voters in Labuan. — Bernama