Archive for the ‘General Topics’ Category

Cuepacs wants 55,000 terminated contract staff reappointed

Friday, September 25th, 2020
IPOH: The Congress of Unions of Employees in the Public and Civil Services (Cuepacs) has called on the government to reappoint 55,000 contract workers whose services had been terminated in the public sector following the change of government two years ago.

Its president Adnan Mat said the statistics comprised employees who had served in the Special Affairs Department (Jasa), National Service Training Programme (PLKN) and Seranta Felda.

“Special consideration should be given to all contract staff who had been terminated by the previous government so that they can be reemployed in any agency as the needs arise.

“This matter should be given priority in addition to giving them the opportunity to return to work after being affected for almost two years following the termination,” he told a press conference after attending the tri-annual general meeting of the Islamic Affairs Support Group Staff Union, Perak Islamic Religious Department (JAIPk) here yesterday.

Adnan said, they could also be absorbed as permanent employees as some of the positions have permanent appointment warrants as issued by the Public Service Department (JPA).

Adnan also welcomed the government’s move not to reduce the size of 1.6 million civil servants nationwide despite the implementation of the electronic government (e-government) system.

He said the move was important as there were matters or approaches that required direct contact between civil servants and the people in addressing an issue..

by Bernama.

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Prevent gadget overuse among kids

Friday, September 25th, 2020

Experts say screen time induces dopamine release that weakens children’s ability to control their impulses. -- PEXELS PIC
Experts say screen time induces dopamine release that weakens children’s ability to control their impulses. — PEXELS PIC

LETTER: I posit that early introduction and unrestrained use of gadgets involving high-speed, highly interactive mediums of human interface and high levels of visual and audio stimuli could contribute to a powerful “re-wiring” of human growth and development, both mentally and physiologically.

The magnitude of impact depends on age of exposure, frequency, duration and type of content being accessed. Pure recreational use is likely to be the most potent.

Is it strange then that children who are exposed to high levels of visual and audio stimulation early on in their growth find it difficult to focus in school? Or just focusing on anything, for that matter?

Researchers have indicated a strong relationship between excessive screen time (signs of digital technology addiction) and psychiatric disorders such as Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder.

Their minds have been trained to operate at such a high level of stimulation that real life appears too dull. In all these cases, technology becomes a limiting prerequisite, instead of an enabler for the discovery and utilisation of innate passion and talent.

The apparent “addiction” may not be easily recognised as society often associates it with substance abuse, but the habitual impact can be just as real. The psychological “re-wiring” may be attributed to an overstimulated dopamine pathway of the brain, combined with an under-stimulation of other parts.

Dopamine is a pleasure chemical, which is released in the brain when we eat sweet things, look at someone that we like or experience the destructive high from cocaine. Therefore, gadget-induced dopamine “rush” could be mimicking these reward pathways.

In short, dopamine stimulation can reinforce our behaviour. In this case, it develops a bad habit that exhibits itself as the need to gratify an immediate urge for more stimulation, similar to how drugs induce addiction.

Furthermore, life is more than just mediums of interaction and certainly not just in education. Even with digital transformation fully implemented in the education system, the very nature of high-speed interaction with gadgets would do little to develop a generation that is resilient and patient.

A simple search is completed in milliseconds and is boosted by predictive search and artificial intelligence (AI). Mere finger swipes get you to move from one webspace to another in a lagless and smooth fashion.

Research is under way to integrate our minds with technology so that we don’t even need to lift a finger.

The ever-increasing processor and Internet speeds exponentially boost this effect further.

With proper use, these are great for productivity, but a premature and unregulated exposure, especially for entertainment, may undermine virtues such as hard work, patience and delayed gratification.

Health and science writer Lauren Vinopal says screen time induces dopamine release that weakens the children’s ability to control their impulses. It is not surprising with speedy and responsive interaction and super-fast content.

Instant sources of dopamine boost means on-demand instant gratification.

As dopamine also influences many parts of human behaviour and physical functions, including learning, motivation, heart rate, kidney function, mood, attention, sleep and pain processing, the over-rewarded brains of underdeveloped minds, which have operated with mostly high-speed interactions, may find learning, information processing, emotional regulation, social interaction, overcoming challenges, empathising with others or simply having to wait in a queue very difficult.

Psychologist Doreen Dodgen-Magee explains this perfectly: “Unless we are intentionally creating opportunities for focus, for delay of gratification, and for boredom, the portions of the brain that regulate these functions have the potential to show less robust, and possibly even diminished function.”


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Will Anwar finally achieve his long sought-after goal?

Friday, September 25th, 2020
PKR president, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, gestures during a press conference in Kuala Lumpur on Sept 23. - NSTP/MOHAMAD SHAHRIL BADRI SAALIPKR president, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, gestures during a press conference in Kuala Lumpur on Sept 23. – NSTP/MOHAMAD SHAHRIL BADRI SAALI

DATUK Seri Anwar Ibrahim has waited for decades to take power in Malaysia.

If he finally achieves that goal, the 73-year-old politician will need to figure out how to implement policies he’s long advocated in an increasingly fractious parliament.

While Malaysia has always been beset by coalition politics, for six decades the former ruling bloc helmed by Umno oversaw a stable if domineering government with policies aimed at benefiting the country’s dominant racial and religious group. Its downfall in 2018, spearheaded by Anwar and former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, promised an inclusive multiracial “New Malaysia” free from corruption.

Yet the new coalition quickly became beset by policy differences, all while dealing with constant intrigue over when Dr Mahathir, now 95, would hand over power to Anwar. The drama came to a head with Dr Mahathir’s resignation in February, prompting a round of horse-trading that propelled Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to the premiership backed by former members of Umno.

This week, Anwar claimed to have a “convincing” majority to unseat Muhyiddin, and vowed to prove the numbers in a meeting with Malaysia’s monarch that has yet to be scheduled. It’s still unclear whether that will lead to another change in leadership or a fresh election.

But one thing is certain: The political landscape is far from settled.

“It’s the most fluid period in Malaysian politics ever – the party allegiances have become very, very shaky,” said Johan Saravanamuttu, an adjunct senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies who researches Malaysian politics.

“It’s just to be in power. Whether the whole idea of reform politics is the direction being taken is not entirely clear to me. Idealism is out of the window.”

Royal Pardon

For Anwar, a little pragmatism might be forgiven. He was seen as Dr Mahathir’s successor in the 1990s before he was fired in the wake of the Asian Financial Crisis, after which he spent six years in prison on convictions for abuse of power and sodomy. Anwar went back to jail again in 2015 on a subsequent sodomy charge, only to be released after the 2018 election thanks to a royal pardon.

As leader of PKR, a key party in the previous Pakatan Harapan government, Anwar waited patiently for Dr Mahathir to fulfill a pledge to eventually name him prime minister. Dr Mahathir kept pushing back the date, and soon the government unravelled.

On Wednesday, Anwar said he was ready to replace Muhyiddin, who could only command a majority of a few lawmakers since he took office in March. While the prime minister denounced the push for power, Umno leader Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said some members of the government’s biggest party were now backing Anwar.

On its face, it would seem odd for Anwar to link up with Umno given he previously called for the end of affirmative action policies it championed. He’s also blasted the party for corruption related to former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who was found guilty of corruption last month and sentenced to 12 years in prison in the first trial over the 1MDB scandal to reach a conclusion.

Fair Representation

But Anwar has shown signs of softening his stance in recent years, and made clear in his statement on Wednesday that the majority of lawmakers backing him were “Malay and Muslim.”

He promised “fair representation” for all races, without naming ethnic Indians and Chinese who hold key posts in his own party and coalition.

“We are committed to uphold the principles of the constitution that recognises the position of Islam, the sovereignty of the Malay rulers and uphold the position of the Malay language as the official language and the special position of the Malays and Bumiputra as well as give assurance to defend the rights of all races,” he said in a statement.

Anwar has paid a “high price” over the years and now wants to make his mark, said Greg Lopez, a lecturer at Murdoch University Executive Education Center in Perth and co-editor of “Regime Resilience in Malaysia and Singapore.”

“He wants that opportunity to actually demonstrate that he can do a good job,” Lopez said. “Given the fact he has survived all these decades being hammered left, right and centre, he has the necessary skills to manoeuver Malaysia – or at least he won’t do any more damage than any of the other prime ministers.”

Financial Crisis

If Anwar finally takes power, he’ll inherit an economy that suffered its worst performance in the second quarter since the financial crisis in the 1990s. Muhyiddin has pushed major fiscal stimulus to revive the economy, which along with others around the globe is suffering from unprecedented mobility restrictions and business closures.

Higher debt levels may make it hard for Anwar to do anything too ambitious. The political turmoil adds another layer of uncertainty that could hamper investment and stall longer-term infrastructure projects, according to Chua Hak Bin, senior economist at Maybank Kim Eng Research in Singapore.

Anwar’s statement on Wednesday emphasised the need for a stable government to see Malaysia through the pandemic. It was largely focused on bread-and-butter issues, rather than lofty calls for reform.

At this point for Anwar, any idealism means little if he’s not in a position to change anything.

“If he were to become PM, it would mark the culmination of a more than two decade journey,” said Awang Azman Awang Pawi, a professor at the University of Malaya who frequently comments on politics. “It would also make him the first PM from a multiracial, multi-religious party – a first in Malaysia’s history.”

by Bloomberg.

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Pahang JPJ collects more than RM700k after 70% discount offer

Thursday, September 24th, 2020

KUANTAN (Bernama): The Pahang Road Transport Department (JPJ) collected RM729,951 in traffic summonses payments in August following a 70% discount offered during the month.

Its director Kamarul Iskandar Nordin said the payments, made through various channels such as over the counter and via the JPJ portal, were for 9,412 summonses that were issued for various offences.

“With only seven days left, I hope the public will take this opportunity to get the 70% discount and not wait until the last minute to pay up their summonses, ” he told reporters at a JPJ operation here Wednesday (Sept 23).

The discounts offered by JPJ will end on Sept 30 and it is for offences under the Road Transport Act 1987 (Act 333), Commercial Vehicles Licensing Board Act 1987 (Act 334) and Land Public Transport Act 2010 (Act 715).

Payments can be made at the JPJ’s state and branch offices and UTC, as well as via JPJ’s mySIKAP portal and RTD Mobile.

On Ops Sepadu, which was conducted at three locations in Gebeng here, Kamarul Iskandar said a total of 1,277 vehicles were inspected and 334 notices issued for various offences such as driving without a licence, no motor vehicle licence and tinted windows.

He said the Immigration Department also arrested six migrants from Myanmar, Nepal, India and Indonesia for not having valid travel documents.

Ops Sepadu involved 12 officers and 71 personnel from various agencies namely the RTD, police, Environment Department, National Registration Department and immigration.

by Bernama.

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Sabah polls: Candidates in Covid-19 quarantine get creative with campaigning

Thursday, September 24th, 2020

KOTA KINABALU: The three candidates running in the Sabah elections who are currently undergoing quarantine for Covid-19 have shifted to alternative platforms to carry out their campaigning in the few remaining days until the polls on Saturday (Sept 26).

The trio contesting within Sipitang had taken preliminary Covid-19 tests earlier this week and are now undergoing the 14-day quarantine due to coming into close contact with Umno supreme council member Mohd Razlan Rafii, who tested positive for Covid-19 while campaigning in Sabah.

INTERACTIVE: Candidate list and key facts on the Sabah election

Barisan Nasional candidate for the Sindumin seat, Sani Miasin, said he is being put up in a hotel but said his swab test taken on Monday (Sept 21) had returned negative.

“However, we must follow the standard operating procedure (SOP).

“I have no worries about campaigning as I have the party machinery, I can also make calls and use social media such as Facebook and (communications app) WhatsApp to reach out.

“I also rely on former leaders here who are experienced to represent me in ceramah, ” he said when contacted Thursday (Sept 24).

He said since he tested negative, he has been given permission to vote on polling day on Saturday and had filled out a form from the Health Ministry.

“The SOPs will be up to Election Commission, they will update it, but so far they haven’t gave me details, ” Sani added.

Parti Warisan Sabah candidate Datuk Dr Yusof Yacob, who is also running for the Sindumin seat, is currently using Skype videoconferencing to reach out to voters from a house rented in Kampung Palakat, Sipitang, to undergo his quarantine.

His media officer Mazlan Sanoh confirmed this, although he said they have yet to get the Covid-19 test results.

“We were told to wait five days (from Monday, Sept 21), and we were informed it will take time as there were too many tests being conducted, ” said Mazlan.

He added that the game plan was to continue using Skype to connect the candidate with constituents in scheduled campaign programmes.

Meanwhile, Barisan candidate for Lumadan, Datuk Kamarlin Ombi, has also not been updated on his test results.

In news reports Wednesday (Sept 23), Kamarlin expressed his confidence that it will not affect his chances in the Lumadan seat, as the people knew him from his time as the elected representative before.

“I have been the Lumadan assemblyman for two terms, the people know me … I have done my best in Lumadan, ” he was quoted as saying.

In the 1th General Election in 2018, Kamarlin was replaced by Matbali Musah for the seat.


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Appreciation for government’s BPN 2.0

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2020
Those eligible for the Bantuan Prihatin Nasional (BPN) 2.0 today expressed their relief knowing that the government would be providing another round of monetary aid to ease their financial burden. - Photo by HAIRUL ANUAR RAHIM/NSTPThose eligible for the Bantuan Prihatin Nasional (BPN) 2.0 today expressed their relief knowing that the government would be providing another round of monetary aid to ease their financial burden. – Photo by HAIRUL ANUAR RAHIM/NSTP

KUALA LUMPUR: Those eligible for the Bantuan Prihatin Nasional (BPN) 2.0 today expressed their relief knowing that the government would be providing another round of monetary aid to ease their financial burden.

Freelance writer Halimatul Saadiaah Abd Hamid, 36, said the money would be used for her sons’ education.

The mother of two said she did not apply for the first round of BPN as she still had a full-time job.

“The last time, I just missed the deadline and then the company I worked for decided to close the department I was attached to.

“But I managed to apply for the RM50 e-wallet, which was easy to apply and widely advertised at most mobile applications that I was using.

“This time around, I will make sure to apply for it (BPN 2.0) as I can use the money for my sons’ education,” she told the New Straits Times.

Halimatul, who is categorised as M40 BPN 2.0 recipient, is set to benefit RM600.

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin yassin said the BPN 2.0 payment would be carried out in two instalments, the first at the end of October 2020 and the second, in January 2021.

For the B40 households, the first instalment in October 2020 will be RM700 while the second payable in January 2021 will be the balance of RM300.

He said no application would be required as the Government would channel the BPN 2.0 to 10.6 million recipients who had been approved under BPN previously.

“For those who are eligible but have not received BPN, the government will allow for appeals and new

applications. I hope this additional assistance will be able to provide some relief and help those concerned with their daily expenses,” Muhyiddin.

By Teh Athira Yusof.

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MEF welcomes latest wage subsidy programme

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2020
The RM2.4 billion Wage Subsidy Programme 2.0 announced by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin will reduce the nation’s unemployment rate and help businesses to ride through the difficult times due to the Covid-19 pandemic. - Photo by ASYRAF HAMZAH/NSTPThe RM2.4 billion Wage Subsidy Programme 2.0 announced by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin will reduce the nation’s unemployment rate and help businesses to ride through the difficult times due to the Covid-19 pandemic. – Photo by ASYRAF HAMZAH/NSTP

KUALA LUMPUR: The RM2.4 billion Wage Subsidy Programme 2.0 announced by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin will reduce the nation’s unemployment rate and help businesses to ride through the difficult times due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) executive director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan said the extension of the programme, which was the expansion of the Employment Retention Programme introduced during the Economic Stimulus Package in March this year, was timely.

“I believe many employers are still losing in terms of revenue where it is hovering under 30 per cent. Some companies are even staring at losses of up to 50 per cent and finding it hard for business to pick up.

“This is happening everywhere and sadly employers are still stuck in that position.

“I would say employers, who had benefitted from the earlier initiative and had survived the harsh period, will also apply for this new programme. This is a safety net at least up to the end of this year when the RMCO ends,” he told the New Straits Times today.

Shamsuddin said Muhyiddin’s announcement came as a welcomed relief as there were concerns by the MEF that the ERP programme, which was to end this month, would not be further extended leading to more unemployment.

This was because one of the conditions for the subsidy was to retain staff throughout the programme and three months afterwards.

“However, the good news now was that the 1.3 million people in the nation’s workforce would not be retrenched although it would cost the government a total RM2.4 billion for the initiative to safeguard the welfare of employers and retain employees.

“But I believe that RM2.4 billion is not a huge sum. Nevertheless, this is a subsidy that can give employers the space to breath during this challenging time.” he said.

By Dawn Chan.

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Muhyiddin: I am still the Prime Minister

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2020

PETALING JAYA: Tan Sri Muhyiddin has proclaimed that he is still the legitimate Prime Minister of Malaysia.

Muhyiddin said Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s proclamation that he had the majority backing of MPs must be substantiated in accordance with the processes and methods determined by the Federal Constitution.

“Without going through the process, Anwar’s statement is merely an claim. Until proven otherwise, the Perikatan Nasional government is still standing strong and I am the legitimate Prime Minister,” he said in a statement on Wednesday (Sept 23).

“I urge the people to be calm. God willing, this issue will be dealt with in accordance with the legal process and the Federal Constitution,” he added.

Anwar had earlier proclaimed that he had the majority support of Parliament to become the prime minister and that the Perikatan Nasional government of Muhyiddin had fallen.

Pas, GPS say will back Muhyiddin

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2020
Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) and Pas will continue supporting the current Perikatan Nasional government and Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin (pic). - NSTP pic

Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) and Pas will continue supporting the current Perikatan Nasional government and Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin (pic). – NSTP pic

KUALA LUMPUR: Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) and Pas will continue supporting the current Perikatan Nasional government and Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, secretaries-general of both parties said today.

Pas secretary-general Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan told the New Straits Times that all Pas MPs would not be joining Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in forming a new government.

“What (Pas deputy president Datuk) Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man said (in news report today) is 100 per cent true that all Pas MPs will not be joining (Anwar’s government).

“We are going to issue a joint statement by Pas, Barisan Nasional (BN) and Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) secretaries-general soon.

“According to the (Federal) Constitution, (Anwar) must have an audience with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong so he must do that first,” the Kota Baru MP said.

Earlier in the afternoon, Anwar said he had a solid majority in the Dewan Rakyat and claimed that as of this moment, Muhyididin had lost his position as the prime minister and that the PN government had collapsed.

However, Takiyuddin pointed out that Muhyiddin held the trump card as the prime minister could advise the Agong to dissolve the parliament.

“Muhyiddin has two alternatives. Either the current government steps down like what (former premier) Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad did (in late Feb) or advise the Agong to dissolve the Parliament like what (Sabah chief minister Datuk Seri) Shafie Apdal did in Sabah.

“There is nothing to be worried about the changes in government. If it is true (there will be a change of government), we have the option to dissolve the government,” he said.

GPS secretary-general Datuk Alexander Nanta Linggi also echoed similar view while telling Anwar to stop playing politics during the Covid-19 pandemic.

He said GPS and Sarawak state government led by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Abang Openg would not be joining Anwar, instead it would continue its support for Muhyiddin.

“As an experienced and mature politician, Anwar should stop creating instability in the country as it will only pose negative effects towards the economy and the people.

“The priority should be on fighting the Covid-19 outbreak because the country and the people are the important matters now,” he said.

According to Anwar, he was granted an audience with the King on Tuesday, but the meeting had to be postponed as the Agong was currently receiving treatment at the National Heart Institute (IJN).

Should Anwar’s claim come true, Malaysia will see the change of government for the second time and the appointment of a third prime minister this year alone.

In late February, the Pakatan Harapan government was overthrown when some of its MPs joined forces with BN and Pas to form the current loose Perikatan Nasional administration, led by Muhyiddin.

The change of government occurred while the country was battling the Covid-19 pandemic.

By Arfa YunusTeh Athira Yusof.

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Sabah 2020: Hoping to return to the August house as an independent

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2020

KUALA LUMPUR: Whether they have an axe to grind with their former parties for dropping them, seeking to return to active politics or merely fighting for the people’s rights, several former and outgoing elected representatives are seeking to revive their political fortune by going solo.

This includes former Luyang elected representative of Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) Melanie Chia Chui Ket, although not contesting her former seat. She will still be in familiar grounds as she contests the Likas state assembly.

The former SAPP deputy president will be involved in a seven cornered contest in the Kota Kinabalu Parliamentary constituency as this time around she seeks to make a comeback as an independent lawmaker. In 2013 Chia lost to DAP’s Hiew King Cheu who is contesting for Parti Gagasan Rakyat Sabah (PGRS) this time. The duo will lock horns with DAP’s Phoon Jin Zhe

Former Banggi State Assemblyman and Marudu member of Parliament Datuk Amir Kahar Mustapha who had previously represented the Umno/BN will be back to his former stomping grounds.

The 70-year-old will be contesting the Banggi state seat he had previously held, come election day on Sept 26.

The son of USNO founder president Tun Datu Mustapha Datu Harun will be involved in a seven cornered fight. He will face Barisan Nasional’s (BN) Akram Ismail; incumbent Mohamad Mohamarin of Parti Warisan Sabah (Warisan); Salbin Muksin (USNO); Kamri Kail of Parti Cinta Sabah (PCS); Abdul Aziz Amir Bangsah of Parti Perpaduan Rakyat

Amir is in good company as his wife Datin Aminah Ambrose will also contest the nearby Bengkoka state seat as an independent after being left out of the state polls by Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu).

Her fight will be the mother of all contest in the state polls as she will be involved in an 11 cornered fight.

She will face Jose Modsinupu (PCS); Dr Samuil Mopun (PBS); Sotijin Juhui (PGRS); Rita Cham (PPRS); Junsim Rumunzing (UPKO); Omar Jakun (USNO) as well as independents Pransol Tiying, Akian Ah Kiew and Maklin Masiau.

In the Tandek seat, which comes under the Kota Marudu Parliamentary Constituency, Datuk Anita Baranting, the former Parti Warisan Sabah state assemblywomen who were dropped by the from the ongoing state polls will take part as an independent. The former two-term former PBS loyalist jumped ship to the Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal led party in 2019, after winning the seat in the 2018 polls. As an independent, it would not be an easy task for the veteran politician who will be in a six cornered contest.

In the fray against her are Hendrus Anding (PBS); Padis Majingkin (UPKO); Yillson Yanggun (BN); Liensin @ Danny Leinsin Limpakan (LDP) and Andy Villson (PBS).

In Inanam former PKR state assemblyman Kenny Chua is looking at defending his seat by contesting as an independent. PKR fired him from the party after he jumped ship to join former Chief Minister Tan Sri Musa Aman to unseat the Warisan-Upko-PH state government led by Shafie Apdal.

The failed bid in August also saw the state assembly being dissolved and the 16th State Assembly being held. Chua already faces a mountain in his bid as non-other than LDP honorary president Tan Sri Chong Kah Kiat is before him.

The others in the 10-cornered fray are George Ngui (independent); Goh Fah Shun @ Francis Goh (PGRS); Peto Galim (PKR); Regina Lim @ How (PCS); William Majinbon (PBS); Mohd Hardy Abdullah @ Zoro Yukon (USNO); Achmad NoorAsyrul Noortaip (Independent); and Terence Tsen (Anak Negeri). In the 2018 polls, Chua won the seat by a 7,783 vote majority in a six cornered fight.

Former 2018 Tenom parliamentary candidate and outgoing Kemabong Umno-BN assemblyman Datuk Rubin Balang will also be seeking to defend his state seat as an independent this time around. He will be locked in a six cornered fight which will include his three-term parliamentary predecessor Datuk Raime Unggi on BN-Umno.

The duo, however, will not be alone as they will be accompanied by Lucas Umbul (UPKO); Tay Jin Kiong @ Alfred (PCS) Rainus Sagulau (USNO) and Juster Peter (LDP).

In the 2018 polls, the seat was won by the BN through Jamawi Jaafar, who had defected to Warisan but switched allegiance back to BN before the dissolution of the state assembly on July 30.

In the Labuk state seat, Abdul Rahman Kongkawang is seeking to defend his seat which he won in the 2018 polls under the PBS banner before jumping ship to join Warisan.

He will be involved in a five-cornered fight in the state seat which comes under the Beluran Parliamentary constituency. In the 2018 polls, he won by 2,600 votes but may find it tough fight. He will face a five cornered contest, which will see him face Dannis T Rantau (UPKO); Samad Jambri (PN); Sh. Suhaimi Sh Miasin (USNO); and Fidelis K. Michael (PCS).

A total of 447 candidates will contest in 73 state assembly seats in the state polls.

The number of independent candidates is 56, while the breakdown of nominees from parties is led by Perikatan Nasional at 29, Parti Gagasan Rakyat Sabah (28), Parti Perpaduan Rakyat Sabah (23), Parti Bersatu Sabah (22), Upko (12), PKR (seven), Parti Harapan Rakyat Sabah (five), Parti Kerjasama Anak Negeri (two), Parti Amanah Negara (one), Parti Kebangsaan Sabah (one) and Pertubuhan Perpaduan Rakyat Kebangsaan Sabah (one).

The 16th State Election will not see any straight fights. The multi-cornered fights comprise three-cornered (three), four-cornered (five), five cornered (15), six-cornered (26), seven-cornered (13), eight-cornered (six), nine-cornered (three), and 10-cornered (one) and 11-cornered (one). An 11-cornered tussle is for the Bengkoka seat, which falls under the Kudat parliamentary seat, while the 10-cornered contest is for the Inanam seat under the Sepanggar parliamentary constituency.

The Election Commission has set polling day for Sept 26. Early voting on Tuesday saw a 76 per cent turnout.

A total of 1.12 million voters are eligible to vote in the election.

The previous Assembly was dissolved on 30 July 2020.

By B. Suresh Ram.

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