BELURAN: Umno has again fielded a non-Muslim candidate on a Barisan Nasional (BN) ticket in the Beluran parliamentary seat to maintain a unique tradition of the party, which also has non-Muslim Bumiputera members, said state BN chief Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin.
He said Umno had always fielded a non-Muslim candidate in the constituency, which was represented by former Umno member Datuk Seri Dr Ronald Kiandee for the past five terms.
“We are keeping up this tradition because it is unique to Umno in Sabah.
“We picked former Sandakan Municipal Council president Benedict Asmat because he is a non-Muslim leader who is capable of bringing changes to Beluran,“ he said at a meeting with the BN election machinery here today.
Bung Moktar, who is a Deputy Chief Minister, said BN would be facing a tough fight as the incumbent Ronald, a Bersatu vice-president, is defending the seat on a Perikatan Nasional (PN) ticket.
“Until 1 pm on Nov 4 he (Ronald) was in my house negotiating for the seat but I said no to him. Beluran must be represented by a non-Muslim leader from Umno,“ he said.
Bung Moktar, who is also Sabah Umno chairman, is confident that Benedict could win as he would be backed by the BN machinery with the cooperation of Gabungan Rakyat Sabah members like Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) and Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (Star).
Bung Moktar, who is standing in Kinabatangan, said Ronald had won in Beluran previously on the hard work of BN.
“The same people, same machinery and same logo helped Ronald to win for five times and now he is fighting us (BN).
“So, our duty now is to ensure a victory for our candidate in Beluran,“ he said.
According to him, Ronald had not brought much development to the constituency and as a local, Benedict was well placed to be the MP.
Bung Moktar said if BN wins the 15th general election (GE15), he is confident Benedict would be given a post in the federal government.
Benedict is involved in a five-cornered contest with Ronald, Rowiena Rasid of Parti Warisan, Hausing Samsudin @ Sudin (Pejuang) and Felix Joseph Saang of United Progressive Kinabalu Organisation (UPKO), who is contesting under the Pakatan Harapan banner.-Bernama