KOTA KINABALU, July 21 (Bernama) -- Voters
in Likas on Saturday demonstrated strong support for the Barisan Nasional
government when they returned BN candidate Datuk Yong Teck Lee with a
bigger majority in the by-election for the seat.
Yong, who is also Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) president, garnered 9,758
votes to beat three other challengers with a 7,541 majority.
Dr Chong Eng Leong of Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) polled 2,217 votes and
Parti Keadilan Nasional's Christina Liew received 1,724 votes while
independent candidate Joshua Kong managed a mere 50 votes and lost his
Yong's victory was all the more significant as he achieved the bigger
majority despite a lower voter turnout of 52.95 per cent as against 68.25
per cent in the 1999 state election.
In the 1999 polls, Yong secured 9,110 votes, beating five others with a
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who was present at
the vote tallying centre in Dewan Maksak here, said the result showed
increased support for BN.
"I am happy with the BN election machinery which has been so
effective that it brought a big win for the BN candidate," he said.
Yong described his victory as a sign that the people wished to continue to
be with the BN and clearly rejected the political culture of the opposition
Polling at the 10 centres started at 7.30am
and closed at 5pm.
The Likas constituency has 26,196 registered voters comprising 60 per cent
Muslim bumiputeras, 28 per cent Chinese, 11 per cent non-Muslim
bumiputeras and one per cent others.
The by-election was called for after the Election Court invalidated the
1999 results in the constituency on grounds that there were phantom and
non-citizen voters in the electoral roll.
Yong, 43, who is also the member of parliament for Gaya which covers Likas,
has been the Likas assemblyman for 16 years.
The former Sabah Chief Minister retained the Likas seat in 1999, beating
five candidates including PBS's Chong and another former Chief Minister
Datuk Harris Salleh, who was then the Bersekutu president.
Chong and Harris filed separate election petitions alleging irregularities
in the 1999 polling in the area.
Justice Datuk Muhammad Kamil Awang, who heard the petitions, declared on
June 8 that the 1999 results were null and void. -- BERNAMA