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Nearly half Sepanggar voters on the fence
Published on: Tuesday, April 17, 2018

SEPANGGAR: Independent surveys have shown that there are 40 per cent fence seaters in Sepanggar who could influence the electoral result to favour either the government or the opposition in the 14th general election.

Until now, the situation in the parliamentary constituency, as has been widely reported by the media, is interesting to follow. The hot debate has been on the issue of candidacy involving Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan, who brings tonnes of ministerial experience and innovative ideas for Sepanggar, and the incumbent at the time of dissolution of parliament, Datuk Jumat Idris.

Also hotly talked about is the question about who will be the candidates for the Barisan Nasional to contest in the two state seats of Karambunai and Inanam.

On the parliamentary seat, Abdul Rahman, who has been tirelessly making his rounds to meet practically everyone he could meet in the constituency and sharing with them his vision, is expected to earn the BN leadership's trust to be their candidate.

But political temperature rose recently when seven Sepanggar Umno division committee members quit the party on April 7 before publicly announcing their crossover to the opposition Party Warisan few days later.

It was reported that aside from them, 150 ordinary party members also left the party.


Abdul Rahman and several Umno leaders in Sepanggar dismissed suggestions that their exodus would affect the BN's performance in the coming election, and branded them as insincere opportunists.

In the meantime, all eyes are on Jumat who reportedly said few days ago that he would wait for the official announcement of BN candidates before deciding on his next move which could either be to "gracefully retire" or soldier on with his political struggles but on a different platform.

Political analyst, Dr Arnold Puyok, however is of the view that there are two channels of debates that are ongoing in Sepanggar. One being on arguments and sentiments about candidates and political parties while the other, is on what they can gain from all this election hoo-ha.

He said while all the political arguments on who the candidates should be and which party to vote for form the main narratives in the Sepanggar election story, the more intellectual and sensible discussions on what Sepanggar can potentially become under a right leader deserves mention.

"There are 40 per cent fence seaters and according to the independent surveys, many of them are less interested in all the politics that have been going on. What they're interested in is to know what's in it for them in all this."


"This means that they want to have the assurance that Sepanggar can be far better than what it is today.

They want the assurance that when this happens, the opportunities are there for them and their next generation to seize upon. They also want an assurance that all their day-to-day concerns and their aspirations can be fulfilled," he said.

He said to the more discerning people of Sepanggar, the bigger question to ask should be more than just mere choice of candidates or parties.

Dr Arnold, who is a senior lecturer at Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, reiterated that Sepanggar has practically everything to become a metropolitan city.

He said when the voters choose their candidate, this thought must be in their minds more than who he or she represents. He or she has to be visionary, able to connect all the dots and make things happen.


Previously, another academician, Dr Asri Salleh, who is a UiTM senior lecturer in the Faculty of Administrative Science and Policy Research, had likened Sepanggar to a Ferrari sports car that needs a driver with strong stamina, constant alertness and is a team player to be withstand the grueling high-speed race toward better development.

Where the fence seater votes would swing will depend on how the potential candidates seeking their votes can convince them that they have what it takes to make Sepanggar great. - Leonard Alaza

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