Why did Warisan lose Kimanis? Too much focus on Shafie, failed strategies, says think tank

Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal gives a speech at the Kimanis Careers Carnival in Membakut January 11, 2020. — Bernama pic
Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal gives a speech at the Kimanis Careers Carnival in Membakut January 11, 2020. — Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 19 — Parti Warisan Sabah’s exaggerated attempts to highlight the leadership of president and state chief minister Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal led to Pakatan Harapan ally’s defeat in the Kimanis by-election, a think-tank said today.

Terengganu Strategic and Integrity Institute (TSIS) chief executive Wan Mat Sulaiman said Shafie was far from achieving the “big man” level in Sabah politics as the one that stood out the most in Kimanis was its former elected representative, Datuk Seri Anifah Aman.

“Warisan’s position as a ruling party also failed to provide additional advantages to its candidate because the majority of voters were not influenced by cash handouts, contributions and development promises, economy and state issues.

“Apart from Datuk Seri Anifah Aman’s personal involvement, the presence of leaders from MCA, PBS, PBRS and STAR also helped to portray Muafakat Nasional’s inclusiveness,” he said in a statement here.

In the Kimanis parliamentary by-election yesterday Barisan Nasional (BN) retained the seat after its candidate, Datuk Mohamad Alamin won by a majority of 2,029 votes, defeating Datuk Karim Bujang of Warisan.

Wan Mat also said one of the main causes for Warisan’s defeat was the negative sentiment among voters towards the enforcement of the Sabah Temporary Pass, coupled with the high turnout rate which showed voters having the motivation to voice their displeasure.

He also pointed out Warisan’s strategy to dwell on state patriotism and exposing wrongdoings of BN leaders failed to materialise among Kimanis voters who were not convinced with such issues.

Wan Mat said PAS’ presence in Kimanis also helped BN’s campaign greatly and proved that voters were not influenced by claims that Muafakat Nasional carried extreme politics or threatened the harmony of multiracial Sabah.

“In conclusion, the Kimanis by-election result has become a clear sign that PH-Warisan is facing huge problems in maintaining support it garnered in the 14th general election.

“The by-election result has also become a major boost in Muafakat Nasional’s potentiality to dominate Malaysian politics. This result will surely attract more Opposition parties in Sabah and Sarawak to join forces with Umno and PAS to strengthen the charter,” he said.

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