Pairin proves his critics wrong
PBS President retains both seats in polls
Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) President Datuk Seri Panglima Joseph Pairin Kitingan proved his critics wrong and won both the Tambunan state and Keningau parliamentary seats in the just-concluded 12th General Election. His victory quashed calls for him to retire as his critics said that he has been too long in politics and is too old to be an effective elected representative. Political observers here said Pairin’s support from the constituents showed that the people still need him and he is still relevant to them as their leader. In fact all the Barisan Nasional (BN) candidates contesting in the state and parliamentary seats here won and the political observers said the people still supported the BN Government because they want continued development and stability. The political observers here described the BN victory was due to the coalition’s strong commitment to continue all developments planned under the Ninth Malaysia Plan (9MP), National Budget 2008 and the Sabah Development Corridor (SDC). Pairin was predicted to be one of the casualties of the election. The opposition saw Pairin as “a politician who has been around too long and is too old” and called for him to retire. Their views of Pairin were not heeded by the people as they still needed him because of his vast experience in the State’s politics. His position as the Kadazandusun Murut communities’ “Huguan Siou” (Paramount Leader) is another reason why he is well loved and supported by the people. Reliable sources here said some quarters wanted to retain Pairin only in the Keningau parliamentary seat and let the opposition win the Tambunan state seat but it was not to be so as Pairin’s votes were the highest in all the 16 polling stations in Tambunan. This victory therefore shows that the people still feel that after eight terms, Pairin is still the best person to be their elected representative. Pairin who polled 5,601 votes, defeated his closest challenger Moses Michael Iking from Parti Keadilan Rakyat (P1(R) with 2,820 votes and won with a 2,781 majority. In the Keningau parliamentary seat, many predicted PKR Vice President Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan who is Pairin’s younger brother, to be victorious but again, they were wrong as Pairin won with a 4,264- vote majority. A political observer pointed out that Jeffrey had made the wrong choice in seats he wanted to contest in. “I believe PKR could have won seats in the interior if Jeffrey contested in the Sook state and Pensiangan parliamentary constituencies as his influence in these areas is still very strong,” he said. The observer also said that the people in Keningau also wanted Jeffrey to contest in Sook and Pensiangan as they wanted to see him meet his old adversary, Tan Sri Joseph Kurup but because he was confident of winning in Keningau and Bingkor, he chose to contest against his elder brother and lost. In the Bingkor constituency, BN candidate Justin Guka was retained by the constituents with a very slim majority of 171 votes. He polled 4,589 votes against Jeffrey’s 4,418. However, some PKR supporters were of the opinion that the results would favour Jeffrey if it was a straight fight between the two candidates. They believed that the 291 people who voted for the two independent candidates would have thrown their support to Jeffrey. Jeffrey’s loss in Bingkor, they said, was caused by the two independent candidates. Meanwhile in Liawan, incumbent BN candidate Datuk Haji Sairin Haji Karno was retained with a 2,044 majority. In the four-cornered fight, Sairin garnered 4,661 votes while his nearest challenger Jius Awang polled 2,617 votes.