Upko battles to shake off Warisan's migrant bogeyman in KDM heartland

Geraldine Tong

Modified 19 Sep 2020, 8:41 am

SABAH POLLS | Warisan, since its founding in 2016, has made unprecedented electoral gains in Sabah, particularly in the Muslim bumiputera coastal areas.

In this Sabah election, Warisan is now also trying to make inroads into the non-Muslim bumiputera areas, but is finding itself struggling with a similar "bogeyman" problem as DAP in Peninsular Malaysia.

Warisan, demonised by opponents as an "undocumented migrant" party in the Kadazan Dusun Murut (KDM) community, is counting on its new KDM-based ally Upko to court the support from the non-Muslim bumiputera community.

But the fear of Warisan as an "undocumented migrant" bogeyman is having a spillover effect on Upko, which is struggling to shake off the association as it works the KDM ground.

Sabah BN chairperson Bung Moktar Radin also played on this fear, likening Warisan's "In God we trust, unite we must" tagline to a Filipino slogan, although "in God we trust", or "kepercayaan kepada tuhan" in Malay, is contained in the Rukun Negara.

The situation is not unlike DAP being demonised as an "anti-Malay and anti-Muslim" party in Peninsular Malaysia, so much so that allies who associate with it are painted as stooges serving DAP's agenda.

Warisan's meteoric rise in the 2018 general election was not reflected in the KDM heartland as it captured only four out of 10 KDM-majority seats it contested then...

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