SABAH POLLS | BN-Umno's candidate for Melalap Jamawi Jaafar today denied allegations that he was caught on video handing out money.
When met at Melalap, a rural area north of Tenom, Jamawi confirmed that it was he who was depicted in the video clip and that it was indeed recorded on Sept 15.
He claimed that what he was handing out could not be money because it was white.
"That was a pamphlet to introduce myself as the candidate. If it was money, how could it be white? If it was RM10, it would be red. If it was RM50, it would be blue. If it was RM100, it would be purple.
"But what I handed out was white in colour," he said, adding that he had to kirim salam (hand greet) the woman shown in the video clip.
The video clip of Jamawi making his rounds in a coffee shop showed him greeting a couple and passing something into a woman's hand.
Jamawi also showed this writer a glossy small pamphlet which he claimed was the one shown in the video clip and that it was folded in half, exposing the white surface underneath.
He said that although the video clip could arouse the suspicions of those who viewed it, the people of Tenom knew him and his methods well.
"The people of Tenom will understand. I was meeting the voters. It wasn't just that one restaurant, I went all over the place. Only outsiders will not understand," he said.
During the 2018 elections, Jamawi won the neighbouring Kemabong seat taking 52.68 percent of the vote. At the time, he was Umno Youth's national information chief.
Jamawi joined Warisan on May 11, 2018 - just two days after being elected. He switched camps again in late July, backing then Sungai Sibuga assemblyperson Musa Aman's bid to form a new government.
However, the state legislative assembly was dissolved before Musa could convince the governor to have him sworn in as chief minister.
This time around, Jamawi will be facing five candidates, including Melalap incumbent lawmaker and Warisan vice-president Peter Anthony.
Jamawi spoke to Malaysiakini after a rally at Melalap, an agricultural area where most of the residents are farmers who plant bananas, oil palm and rubber.
His campaign message is called Misi Melalap 2025 and outlines a five-year plan to develop the area.
Follow Malaysiakini's coverage of the Sabah state election here.