Klias seat: A political roller coaster

Klias seat: A political roller coaster

BEAUFORT: When talking about Klias, one cannot help but discuss the political roller coaster experienced by the state assembly seat which is under the Beaufort parliamentary constituency.

This is because for the past three terms, the area has shown that even after securing a big win and serving the people well, its elected representative will not be guaranteed re-election in the next term.

In the 12th general election in 2008, the only woman contender in a five-cornered contest over the seat, Datuk Azizah Mohd Dun of Barisan Nasional (BN), won easily with a 2,413-vote majority, leaving her closest contender from Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), Abdul Rahman Md Yakub, and three independent candidates far behind.

Despite her good track record, Azizah was not fielded to defend the seat in the 13th general election in 2013, stepping aside for BN candidate and Klias politician Datuk Isnin Aliasnih to contest, who the coalition hoped would continue its legacy in the constituency.

However, the strategy backfired when Datuk Lajim Ukin from PKR defeated Isnin, albeit with a slim majority of 179 votes.

At the same time, Lajim failed to defend his parliamentary seat in Beaufort when he lost to Azizah by a small majority of 672 votes, although he had won previously in a widely popular one-on-one fight with Lajim Md Yusof from PKR.

In the contest dubbed ‘Lajim vs Lajim’, he walked away with a huge majority of 10,000 votes.

Lajim was no stranger to BN because he was the former Beaufort Umno division head who jumped ship to PKR right before the 13th general election.

While the country was grappling with the political tsunami following the fall of the long-established BN coalition in several states in the 14th general election in 2018, Klias witnessed a different scenario when Isnin managed to avenge his defeat to Lajim.

He came back strongly with a 2,000-vote majority despite facing a fierce three-cornered fight with Lajim and Johair Mat Lani from Warisan.

Fast forward to two years later, Sabah is witnessing another election, its 16th state election, following the dissolution of the Warisan-led state government, headed by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal, on July 30.

The state election this time around will see another fierce tussle for the Klias seat.

Interestingly, Isnin, the incumbent assemblyman who is now with Bersatu under Perikatan Nasional, is being assisted on his campaign trail by fellow party member Lajim Ukin, whom he defeated in the 13th general election.

Besides Isnin, the other contenders for the seat are Abdul Rahman Md Yakub from PKR, who was fielded in the 12th general election, Maksit Saidi (Gagasan), Abdullah Okin (PCS), Amsir Dani (Usno) and independent candidate Jismit Japong.

Such is the political scenario in the Klias constituency with its ups and downs, where offers to develop the area are much more significant than national issues and can win over the undecided voters.-Bernama