Opponents Expand Migrant Attack On Warisan Into Dap Areas
SABAH POLLS | Opponents of the Warisan Plus alliance have rachet up their campaign to paint Warisan as an undocumented migrant party in towns, a message that was previously only heard in the Kadazan-Dusun-Murut (KDM) constituencies in the Sabah election.
A billboard in Chinese was put up in downtown Sandakan last night, declaring "One vote for sailing boat = illegal refugees become Sabahans". Warisan's logo is that of a sailing boat.
The billboard was put up at a junction nearby a local market within the state seat of Elopura, which is being defended by its DAP incumbent Calvin Chong.
As the billboard is unmarked, it is unclear which rival party had put it up.
DAP is using Warisan's logo in the Sabah election and the billboard appeared geared to turn that strategy against the DAP.
Warisan, Upko and Pakatan Harapan (DAP, PKR and Amanah) are part of the Warisan Plus alliance.
Chong (below), in a press conference today, condemned the billboard.
"The issue highlighted on the billboard only proves that the opposition has no other issues to attack Shafie Apdal as the chief minister beyond his ethnicity.
"This was despite his repeated explanation that he was born and raised in Semporna, and his ancestors were also buried in Semporna," said Chong during the press conference held at Sandakan MP Vivian Wong's office today.
Chong also confirmed that the offending billboard was taken down by Sandakan Municipal Council officers after complaints were lodged.
Opponents have demonised Warisan as a "party of undocumented migrants" and the message appear to have gained traction in the KDM community.
The message has racial and religious undertones as the KDM community are mostly non-Muslim bumiputera while Shafie is a Muslim of Bajau descent.
There has also been decades-long discontent over the influx of Muslim refugees from southern Phillippines since the Moro conflict in 1969.
This was aggravated by an alleged covert operation dubbed "Project IC" by elements in the federal government in the 1990s that illegally granted citizenships to undocumented migrants in a bid to alter the demography of Sabah for electioneering purposes.
Even Sabah BN chairperson Bung Moktar Radin has played on this fear, likening Warisan's "In God we trust, unite we must" tagline to a Filipino slogan, although "in God we trust", or kepercayaan kepada tuhan in Malay, is contained in the Rukun Negara.
Shafie condemned the attempt to paint Warisan as an undocumented migrant party as divisive politics aimed at splitting Sabahans.
Warisan made unprecedented gains in the 2018 general election, two years after its founding, but struggled in KDM constituencies.
It is now relying on Upko to deliver the KDM votes while opponents rachet up the "undocumented migrant" attacks.
While Warisan is strong in the Muslim bumiputera coastal areas, it also hopes to win the KDM constituencies to secure a supermajority to stave off any more coup attempts through defections.
The snap election was called after former Musa Aman initiated a coup against the incumbent Warisan Plus government through defections in order to make a comeback as chief minister.
However, Shafie outmanoeuvred him by securing a dissolution of the state assembly, paving the way to a fresh election.
Campaigning began on Sept 12 and polling day is on Sept 26. A total of 73 seats are up for grabs. - Mkini
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