KOTA KINABALU: Former chief minister Datuk Yong Teck Lee is among the possible Sabah Progressive Party candidates for the party’s first elections foray in opposition since quitting the Barisan Nasional last year.
Called the “Sabah Taiko” by some in Chinese community, the 52 year-old SAPP president’s name was one of those mentioned immediately after the party announced its decision to contest the Batu Sapi parliamentary by-election after a supreme council meeting yesterday.
Yong also did not rule himself out as a candidate, saying that he was now entitled to contest as a disqualification period due to an election offence had expired.
Due to a 1999 elections billboard offence, Yong was disqualified in 2001 from contesting any election for five years. It was lifted in 2006.
Yong, however, stayed out of the March 2008 general election when SAPP’s request to be given the Kota Kinabalu parliament seat held by Parti Bersatu Sabah was turned down by Barisan.
Other names brought up at the SAPP meeting included party secretary-general Datuk Richard Yong who was tasked with rebuilding five branches in Sandakan after deputy president Datuk Raymond Tan quit with SAPP’s pullout from Barisan.
Another name being bandied about as SAPP’s possible candidate was its central liaison committee member for Karamunting, Poon Kee Yang.
Yong said the party would announce its candidate at the opening of the Karamunting SAPP office in Sandakan on Oct 23, three days before nominations on Oct 26.
The Nov 4 by-election was called due to the death of Barisan’s Batu Sapi MP Datuk Edmund Chong Ket Wah of PBS in an accident on Oct 9.
Asked about the possibility of votes for the opposition being split in a three-way fight with Pakatan Rakyat and Barisan, Yong said: “We are a Sabah-based party. If we don’t contest here, where else can we contest?”
Sabah Pakatan Rakyat secretariat of Parti Keadilan Rakyat, DAP and PAS will meet today to decide on their candidate