Sandakan by-election: A five-cornered fight

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SANDAKAN (April 27): It is a five-cornered fight for the Sandakan by-election.

DAP’s candidate Vivian Wong Shir Yee, 30,  is being challenged by Datuk Linda Tsen Thau Lin (PBS) and three Independents namely Chia Siew Yung, Sulaiman Samat and Hamzah Abdullah.

Returning officer Mohd Hamsan Awang Supain announced the names of the candidates at 10.30am at Dewan Sekolah Menengah Jenis Kebangsaan (SMJK) Tiong Hua, which is the nomination centre for the Parliamentary by-election.

The one -hour nomination process which began at 9am proceeded smoothly.

Sulaiman was the first candidate to hand in his nomination papers at  9.05am, followed by Tsen (9.06am), Hamzah (9.08am), Chia (9.09am ) and Wong (9.14am).

The Sandakan seat fell vacant after the incumbent Datuk Stephen Wong Tien Fatt, from DAP, died of a heart attack at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Kota Kinabalu on March 28.

Vivian, who is Wong’s youngest of four children, holds a degree in Public Relations from University of Murdoch, Australia and has been involved in politics since 2012 with DAP.

The Sandakan-born, who had studied at Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Sung Siew here, was a special assistant to her father when he was Sabah’s Health and People’s Wellbeing Minister and has been very active in social work.

Tsen, 63, who is vice president of PBS, was a two-term MP for Batu Sapi but lost the seat to Datuk Liew Vui Keong, who is currently a Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, in the 14th General Election (GE14) last May.

Chia is a businessman, Sulaiman is former administrative assistant at the Sandakan Parliamentary constituency service centre while Hamzah is former founding member of Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) Sabah.

Early voting is on May 7 and polling on May 11.

The Sandakan Parliamentary constituency has two State constituencies, namely Tanjong Papat and Elopura with a total of 40,131 eligible voters, including 270 early voters and five absentee voters.

The gender breakdown is 20,274 women voters and 19,857 men.

Wong was first elected as Sandakan MP in the 13th General Election (GE13) in 2013 when he defeated Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate Datuk Leong Vui Keong with a majority of 1,088 votes.

In GE14 last May, he defended the seat with a majority of 10,098 votes against BN candidate Datuk Lim Ming Hoo.