Kimanis victory shows Sabah Umno and BN not ‘fully incapacitated’ yet, think tank says

Barisan Nasional leaders celebrate the coalition party’s by-election victory in Kimanis as Datuk Mohamad Alamin was announced the winner with a 2,029-vote majority. — Picture courtesy of Sabah Information Department
Barisan Nasional leaders celebrate the coalition party’s by-election victory in Kimanis as Datuk Mohamad Alamin was announced the winner with a 2,029-vote majority. — Picture courtesy of Sabah Information Department

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 19 — Barisan Nasional’s (BN) Kimanis by-election victory is a testament to Sabah Umno and BN’s steadfast position in the state based on the number of votes the coalition’s candidate obtained across 16 out of 19 district polling centres, a think-tank said today.

Terengganu Strategic and Integrity Institute (TSIS) chief executive Wan Mat Sulaiman pointed out that votes obtained by BN had increased in all but three district polling centres compared to its May 2018 polling results.

This, he said shows that BN and Sabah Umno were not “fully incapacitated” yet.

The three out of 19 districts where BN fared worse than Pakatan Harapan’s Parti Warisan Sabah were Binsulok, Pimping and Brunei.

In contrast, Warisan only increased its vote count in five polling centres compared to its 2018 showing.

“BN’s candidate victory, Datuk Mohamad Alamin defeating Datuk Karim Bujang in Kimanis is a victory that cannot be looked down on as it was a total victory.

“What is more significant is that details of votes obtained by the BN candidates in the Kimanis poll according to voting districts showed increased votes in all but three districts,” he said in a statement here.

Mohamad won the Sabah parliamentary poll yesterday in a straight fight by a 2,029 vote-majority against Parti Warisan Sabah candidate Karim, keeping Kimanis for BN by a wider margin.

In comparison, the BN candidate in Election 2018, Datuk Seri Anifah Aman who had held Kimanis since 2004, won by only 156 votes in a three-cornered fight against Karim and Parti Harapan Rakyat Sabah candidate Jaafar Ismail.

Despite several Umno Sabah leaders switching their allegiance and the combined force of several minor Sabah-based political parties, Wan Mat said both factors failed to change the political landscape of Sabah.

“The action of Umno Sabah leaders including Membakut assemblyman Datuk Mohd Ariffin Arif switching party has not affected the Umno grassroots as most are still loyal to Umno except those of Mohd Ariffin’s family members.

“The action of UPKO led by Datuk Seri Panglima Wilfred Madius Tangau and Parti Harapan Rakyat Sabah led by Datuk Seri Panglima Lajim Ukim to join force with Warisan also failed to change the political landscape,” he added.

Wan Mat further suggested that should a snap election be called, BN would wrest both Bongawan and Membakut state seats based on the existing voting patterns which he said manifested in the support for Peninsula-based Muafakat Nasional that has spread to East Malaysia.

“Not only the PH-Warisan owned parliament seat would be in danger, but PH-Warisan is also expected to lose its control in Sabah with BN wresting control of Bongawan with a majority of 1,161 votes and Membakut with a majority of 880 votes,” he said.

He said in almost all Bumiputera Islam and non-Islam Bumiputera majority areas, BN’s vote share increased while Warisan’s reduced.

The by-election was necessitated by the Election Court’s nullification on August 16, 2019, of former MP Anifah’s win in Kimanis in the 14th general election in May 2018.

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