Sabah Polls: COVID-19 proves a challenge, already three candidates told to quarantine


CAMPAIGNING during a pandemic proves to be a real challenge during the Sabah state election, what more with the ongoing spike in the number of COVID-19 cases in the state.

With only two days left before the polls, Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate for Sindumin seat Sani Miasin, 42, for one, was told to undergo 14-day quarantine after being in close contact with UMNO Supreme Council member Datuk Razlan Rafii who was tested positive for the disease.

Sani was accompanied by Razlan during his campaign last Sunday. The candidate who is contesting for the first time in an election, however, was tested negative.

Speaking to Bernama, Sani who is also UMNO Sipitang Youth chief, however, said the quarantine did not hamper his campaign to win the hearts of the voters.

“The campaign still runs via phone (calls and messages) and Facebook…I’m not allowed to see anybody. This is the instruction from the Health Ministry, we have to follow the procedures.

“But, no problem. We have been working even before the state election begins. So, this (quarantine) is not a restriction, just a test, a learning process for me,” he said.

Sindumin, which was known as ‘Mengalong’ in the 1960s and located about a three-and-half-hour drive from here is unique in its own way as it is bordering with Indonesia and Sarawak.

Asked on his vision for Sindumin, Sani who is contesting against five other candidates said he had many plans for the constituency with 16,762 voters, mostly involving the upgrading of the infrastructure.

Sani is facing incumbent Dr Yusof Yacob from Warisan, Manshor Okk Mohd Yassin (USNO), Arifin Harith (Gagasan), Daniel Gaing @ George Daniel (LDP) and Jaybee [email protected] Buayie (PCS).

It was reported that Yusof, who is also the incumbent state education and innovation minister, had also been ordered to undergo 14-day quarantine after being in close contact with individual tested positive for the disease.

Another candidate who was instructed to undergo quarantine is BN candidate for Lumadan seat Datuk Kamarlin Ombi who had also been in close contact with Razlan.

But just like Sani, business is as usual for Kamarlin.

“I am now awaiting result of the COVID-19 test. Until then, I cannot go out, but it’s not a problem because the house-to-house campaign is still being carried out by my machinery. I’m an old face here, the people already know me,” he said.

On his plan for Lumadan, Kamarlin who is former state Tourism, Culture and Environment Assistant Minister during Tan Sri Musa Aman’s administration envisioned to make tourism products in the constituency great again by upgrading the tourism infrastructure.

“Tourism is among our main sources of revenue. We have numerous unique and interesting attractions, including the prosboscis monkey. We also received many foreign tourists, especially from Korea,” he said.

Kamarlin said he would also look into the palm oil industry in the area, which has became one of the main source of income for the constituents.

Kamarlin is in a nine-cornered fight for the seat against Sahlih Sirin (Gagasan), Ali Dad Fazal Elahi (USNO), Malik [email protected] (PCS), Dayang Aezzy Liman (Harapan Rakyat), Ruslan Muharam (PBS), [email protected] Mohd Dun (PPRS) and Mohd Saidi Manan (Independent).

Lumadan has 15,044 registered voters.

It is among the 17 seats where Perikatan Nasional (PN), its allies BN and PBS are crossing swords.

COVID-19 cases in Sabah has been showing an upward trend with 134 new positive cases reported yesterday.

However, the Health Ministry has given assurance that the situation is under control.

Apart from Razlan, another UMNO leader, Shahril Hamdan who is the party’s deputy youth chief, was also reported to have been tested positive for COVID-19 upon his return to Kuala Lumpur after helping with the election campaign in Sabah.