Malaysia Dateline

A walk in the park for DAP in Sandakan by election

Azmi hassan 2It’s being said that the Sandakan by election that will be held this Saturday May 11 is a walkin the park for DAP candidate Vivian Wong. The believed stem from last general election result which saw the DAP candidate the late Wong Tien Fatt which garnered 48% of the vote and won with more than 10,000 votes to spare compared to LDP candidate which only gained 23% of the total vote.

With Chinese comprised 50% of the total voters composition and being the daughter of the late Wong, there is no doubt that the by election result is a no brainer. But again that was then since a year has passed the local political scenario has been drastically changed especially if peninsular politics is of concerned.

There has been seven by election since GE14 and taking cue from the last three consisting of Cameron Highlands, Semenyih and Rantau, the opposition is gaining ground especially after cooperation between two nemesis Umno and Pas became a reality. Some argue that peninsular politics is totally different from the Borneo politics and in a way this observation is somewhat true. But apprehension still  remain within the PH camp if the momentum of the opposition three win in a row can have any effect on the Borneo politics.

But one have to bear in mind that the peninsular opposition has been gaining ground due to the race and religion factor that has been playing around in the political scenario. Both of these factors was never an issue either in Sabah or Sarawak. So there is some doubts whether the opposition momentum in peninsular will have any effect this Saturday.

On the ground it looks like the two main contenders of DAP’s Vivian and Datuk Linda Tsen from PBS are neck to neck. Both politicians are considered novice politically and both became involved in politics respectively due to the demised of Vivian’s father and Tsen’s husband. In a way it is true to say that the by election is really not about the candidate itself but the legacies they represent and this is where the by election is very intrigue in nature.

But being the former two-term Batu Sapi MP, Tsen has an added advantage compared to Vivian but it’s good to hear that both of them never resorted to personal attacks during their campaign trail. Tsen is more focused on convincing the need of check and balance both in the federal and state government and this is where Tsen reiterated PBS can play a significant role.

Some observed that the other three independent candidates will act as spoilers by virtue of splitting the votes especially on Muslim and Bumiputera voters which represents quite a significant percentage. Yes these three will indeed will act as spoilers but the effect will be very minimal indeed. The voters in fact will find it very hard to make the choice between Vivian and Tsen since both of them have their own strengths and backed by political parties that are well known of their track records.

It is interesting to observe that the campaign strategy adopted by DAP and PBS are significantly different. DAP being a peninsular based parties is seen more prefer to touch on national issues such as 1MDB, ECRL project, national debt and how the PH federal government adopted its cost saving measures. PBS meanwhile being a local political party stick to the local theme that are close to the voters.

Yes it will indeed be a walk in the park for DAP come this Saturday but to obtain a similar 10,000 plus majority is seemed to be very unlikely. The by election come on top of PH one year anniversary of wrestling Putrajaya from BN. Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir  Mohamad  gave a 5 grade out of 10 to his ministers performance and basically that is the general feeling of Malaysians towards the PH government. This national sentiment will no doubt effected the Sandakan voters’ sentiments and a DAP win is something that are
expected and to have a substantial and respected majority win is a bonus not only to DAP but to PH as a whole.