KOTA KINABALU: Eleven of the 15 assemblymen who defected from Warisan Plus in July will be defending their seats on Sept 26.
The 15 had crossed the floor to support former chief minister Musa Aman in an unsuccessful move to form a new government before sitting chief minister Shafie Apdal dissolved the state assembly, triggering the snap polls.
Six are standing as independents, three under the Perikatan Nasional ticket and two as Barisan Nasional candidates.
The other four are not contesting.
Political analyst Tony Paridi Bagang said this would be a litmus test on their ability to pull off a victory, especially involving voters who had questioned their defection.
“This time they are facing stiff competition. They owe the people a justification over their actions,” he told FMT.
“How they explain their move for shifting support could be one way of convincing the people. Their report cards on their performance as elected representatives could also help besides the personality factor.”
Universiti Malaysia Sarawak deputy dean Arnold Puyok said people usually vote for independent candidates who had a strong record and personal ties with the electorate.
The six defending their seats as independents are Anita Baranting (Tandek), Kenny Chua (Inanam), Saddi Abdul Rahman (Sukau), Musbah Jamli (Tempasuk), Masiung Banah (Kuamut) and Abdul Rahman Kongkawan (Labuk).
Abdul Muis Picho (Sebatik), Abidin Madingkir (Paginatan) and Limus Jury (Kuala Penyu), are contesting under the PN ticket, and James Ratib (Sugut) and Jamawi Jaafar (Kemabon) under the BN banner.
The four sitting out of the polls are Hamisa Samat (Tanjung Batu), Osman Jamal (Balung) and nominated representatives Ronnie Loh and Jaffari Walliam.
Leaders from Upko will also face their first election after the party pulled out of BN to support Warisan following the 2018 general election.
Upko president Wilfred Madius Tangau is seeking to wrest the rural seat of Kiulu from PBS information chief Joniston Bangkuai, once a close ally in BN, in a six-sided battle.
Upko vice-president Ewon Benedick is defending his Kadamaian seat against five other contenders.
Click here for the latest on the Sabah polls