The political scenario in this district appears to have changed a lot since the emergence of alliances such as Gabungan Sabah and new local opposition party Warisan.
At worst, members and those who know the developments in their parties will either drop hints or leak some information but do not want to be quoted.
For the Tawau parliamentary seat, a few names were mentioned and incumbent Datuk Dr Mary Yap Kain Ching from PBS is expected to defend her seat which she won under the BN ticket with 21,331 votes in the 13th GE.
She is expected to be challenged again by PH’s Datuk Kong Hong Ming from Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) who garnered 16,352 votes.
However there has also been mention of PKR Sabah chairperson Christina Liew as candidate for Tawau. Word has it, she will be contesting for a parliamentary seat and a state seat.
Also expected to be in the fray is Parti Harapan Rakyat Sabah vice president cum Tawau division head Alizaman Jijurahim under GS. Not a newcomer, Alizaman was the PKR candidate under the Pakatan Rakyat coalition for the Tawau parliament Apas constituency garnering 2,891 votes against Datuk Tawfiq Abu Bakar Titingan who got 9,013 votes.
In the Tawau parliament constituency seats for Sri Tanjong, Apas and Balung, all seats are expected to see a three cornered fight as GS is expected to field their candidates.
In Sri Tanjong, Democratic Action Party’s (DAP) Chan Foong Hin, who is the incumbent, is highly expected to swap seats with former DAP incumbent Jimmy Wong who wrestled the Sri Tanjong seat from BN’s Party Bersatu Sabah (PBS) in the 12th GE. Jimmy who went for the Kota Kinabalu MP seat in the 13th GE is expected to be back for the Sri Tanjong seat.
Meanwhile, BN who has been trying to wrest back the Sri Tanjong seat through PBS has three names mentioned, People Development Leader Fung Len Fui and new faces Lo Su Fui and Dr Wong Jia Lih.
Lo is the former Tawau Chinese Chamber of Commerce president and currently Sabah United Chinese Chamber of Commerce secretary.
He has been seen present at functions during Sabah BN chairman Tan Sri Musa Aman’s visits to Tawau including the Prime Minister’s working visit to Tawau to officiate the Urban Transformation Center (UTC) and Tawau International Cultural Festival recently while Dr Wong has been active in many community functions including Green Tawau Action Committee (GTAC) to beautify Tawau with flame of the forest trees planted along the road leading to Tawau Airport.
GS is also expected to field a candidate from Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) but names have not crept up, while former SAPP supreme councillor Kenneth Goh said it is very unlikely he will stand as a candidate as he has relinquished his position in the party to concentrate on his business and is just an ordinary member.
Kenneth, who was outspoken on many issues has been silent for quite sometime, saying he hopes the people will support the local party as only a local party understands local problems and MA63. Also expected to join the fray is Parti Kebangsaan Sabah’s (PKS) James Leong, a former Tawau DAP and Parti Gerakan member.
For the Apas constituency, Datuk Nizam Abu Bakar Titingan is expected to fill the seat to take over from his late brother Datuk Tawfiq Abu Bakar Titingan who passed away on March 14.
Nizam is the chief political secretary to the chief minister, Benta Wawasan chairman and Tawau Umno division vice-chief. He is expected to be challenged by Warisan’s Frank Salazar who stood under PH’s PKR banner for the Balung seat in the last GE.
In the Balung constituency, incumbent Datuk Syed Abas Syed Ali has been mentioned along with BN’s Balung operation director cum Umno Tawau treasurer Hamild Awang and Umno Tawau Youth chief Arifin Kasim.
GS is also expected to field its candidates for Apas and Balung and Warisan for Balung but no names have been mentioned or announced yet.