Monday, March 10, 2008


Probe all poll offences thoroughly: SAPP


Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) which won all the six state and parliamentary seats in the 12th General Election, has called on the Election Commission, the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) and police to investigate thoroughly all election offences to ensure cleaner and problem-free elections in the future. “SAPP is especially wary of illegal leaflets and billboards because we were a direct victim of election offences such as illegal campaign materials. So, when a bundle of illegal leaflets was found right outside the SAPP headquarters operations room at Luyang two nights before the polling day, SAPP immediately lodged police reports in order to clear our name. Another set of illegal leaflets was distributed in the evening of March 7 by unknown persons,” said SAPP President Datuk Yong Teck Lee yesterday. He also said the party had good reasons to believe that one of independent candidates was not an ‘independent’ but was planted by a political party as a ‘gun slinger’ to single out SAPP to be attacked. Commenting on the preparations for the polls, Yong said part of it included a confidential party in-house study of the defeat of BN-SUPP candidates in Kuching City in the Sarawak State elections of May 2006. “We were worried that the same fate will befall SAPP in Sabah’s urban seats. We even sent teams to Sarawak to find out the causes of defeat and think of ways to save our BN seats. In December 2006, our party leadership Level 5 Training Course evaluated the study. We feel that, in politics, it is always the people come first. The party must continue to make itself relevant to the people. The party cannot rely solely on past achievements to justify support forever,” he said. As for the campaign billboards and leaflets, Yong said the Sarawak DAP (in 2006) beat SUPP in terms of creativity, attractiveness and imagination. “We learned from that too. So, in KK this time, we did not use the outdated T-board posters which are expensive to put up and have no political value. “One basic reason for the win of our six candidates this time is their performance record and the hopes that they give the people. Local networking and support of local groups was important in delivering many votes. In all our six constituencies, SAPP candidates have a good working relationship with other component parties over the many years and not just during election time,” he said. As for the party, Yong said BN is still an attractive choice of the Sabah people to form the Government. Although there were many protest votes, the mood was not to change the BN Government led by Datuk Seri Musa Aman. This is why BN managed to maintain the same number of seats in Sabah. On the national scenario, he said even though SAPP was aware of some under currents against the BN in Peninsular Malaysia, the swing against the BN was far more than expected. Understandably, this is a new challenge for the BN. “SAPP as a component party of BN will continue our struggle for the people and to strengthen the BN so that the country will continue to progress. With the new make-up of Parliament and strong State Governments in Sabah and Sarawak, it is also to be expected that Sabah can play a more meaningful role in the national mainstream that can bring even more progress and development of Sabah,” he said.