Can Rozman defend his seat in Labuan?

April 30, 2018

Based on track record, Barisan Nasional (BN) has a strong record in Labuan parliamentary seat due to the majority support from the people here in this island mostly from the Malay-Muslim voters and some voters from the Chinese, Kadazandusuns, Indians and other communities.

BN component parties comprising Umno, MCA, MIC, Gerakan, PBS and Upko here were working together to ensure their victory in each election supported by some non-governmental organisations (NGOs) especially among the chambers of commerce in Labuan.

Since the previous members of parliament (MPs) from BN here, until now Labuan is still a stronghold for BN and some of the people here predicted that such situation will continue.

Rozman Isli, before he was conferred the Datukship title then, won with majority votes of 6,625 votes in a three-cornered fight against PKR and PAS candidates for the first time being nominated as BN candidate back in 13th General Election (GE) in 2013.

Since then, Rozman did not turn back, instead of focusing on developing this island further left by his predecessors.

However, he who was graduated from United States of America (USA) in business field was tested with the downfall of global oil price where many employees in the oil and gas industry here were laid off in his tenure as an MP in Labuan.

It was learnt that over 10,000 people had left this island due to the global oil crisis after enjoying Labuan prosperity for so long.

The figure was increasing and among those leaving this island were also business owners those suffered from the crisis apart from the employees in the industry.

It was learnt that some of the folks those unemployed here had to meet their elected representative, Rozman (54) for help.

But, in a different point of view, Rozman was seen aggressively initiating the development of this island.

Among them, he did set up Yayasan Pembangunan Labuan (YPL), City College Labuan, new Medan Selera, providing more roads and better connections, making Labuan town looked better and beautiful, and others.

The biggest one he initiated was Labuan Development Blueprint 2030, which was launched by Datuk Seri Najib Razak on January 18 this year at Dataran Labuan.

It was launched just less than four months before the 14th GE that was expected to be held on this May 9.

Based on survey through the social media, the launching received some critics from the netizens especially about Labuan-Sabah Bridge, which was the highlight in the blueprint where most of them telling that such matter should had been implemented years ago.

By the way, Rozman who is also the chairman for Labuan Corporation is still much needed by the BN here, as he is the most winnable candidate against the oppositions.

However, Labuan parliamentary seat is still considered safe by a particular quarter of people for any BN candidate in this coming 14th GE though some threats are bombarding in from outside Labuan.

During the nomination day on April 28 recently, Labuan will see a four-cornered fights – BN, Parti Warisan Sabah (Warisan), Parti Harapan Rakyat Sabah (Harapan) and Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS).

Each Warisan, Harapan and PAS represented by Noor Halim Zaini (54), Siti Zaleha Ibrahim (61) and Ahmad Junid Aling (51).

Warisan is gaining more popularity in Sabah today as most Sabahans those who are wished to kick out Umno from Sabah perceived Warisan as the only way for them to shoo Umno away from the state.

In Labuan, Warisan was selected instead of PKR representing Pakatan Harapan (PH) which was a questionable decision.

Warisan is a Sabah state-based political party, while Labuan that is once under the administration of Sabah state government is now a federal territory.

Some PKR members as well as it supporters might still wish that their party that should be representing PH here.

However, they abide by their agreement with their coalition in Sabah.

Meanwhile, the candidate for Warisan, Noor Halim is another figure that PH considered can challenge Rozman in this election.

Both Noor Halim and Rozman’s fathers are influential figures in Labuan politics.

Noor Halim’s late father, Datuk Zaini Mat Isa was a former Sabah state assemblyman for Labuan, while Rozman’s father, Datuk Isli Siput was a former senator for Labuan.

In the last election some people here were thinking that Rozman might be shadowed by his father’s figure in politics when he was first nominated as a BN candidate here then.

Somehow, his first-term as an MP had brought many changes in Labuan Island and did produce some positive outcomes for the people and the island itself.

Most of the veteran voters here might know who Noor Halim is, but most of the younger voters might not know him.

The political scenario both at Sabah and at national level might be used by the PH here to garner more votes.

In Sabah, due to their desperate need for political changes with a single hope for better life and the need to have a state-based political party to rule Sabah, the popularity of Warisan is soaring. 

Therefore, Warisan is perceived as the most influential opposition political party today that potentially can defeat Umno in Sabah where Labuan could take advantage on it.

Meanwhile, PAS candidate, Ahmad Junid is a strong figure for Muslim leader in Labuan where this is his first-time to be selected as candidate to represent PAS Labuan in this coming election.

Why he is perceived as a strong character among the Muslims in Labuan is because he is one of the well-known ustaz in the island who used to give his lectures about religion at masjid and surau around Labuan.   

He is a well-liked personality among the Muslims for his knowledge and wisdom.

Even though, PAS has no history of winning in the election in Labuan, but Ahmad Junid will be another ‘contender’ for Rozman.

While, it is almost unheard of for any woman becoming candidate in the election for Labuan parliamentary seat, but Siti Zaleha the former Labuan PKR women chief broke the tradition here.

Granted with the ability to talk to address some issues in Labuan, Siti Zaleha might be able to tap the women voters in Labuan which total number is comparable with men voters in the island.

The situation in Labuan campaign before the polling day on May 9 might be challenging for Rozman who is popularly called as ‘Abang Man’ in his campaign, as it is not easier for him to retain his seat when compared to the last election even though he has far more advantages in terms of resources.

Even though, he is seen fully backed up by the mainstream media, but the fact is there are many other reliable alternative media out there for the people to read.

However, the people is simply want to cast their votes on someone who they think can fulfil their needs regardless of the candidate’s popularity.

What far more challenging for Rozman is for him to create employment for the people in the island.

One of his opponents in this coming election as reported in a local news portal (not Labuan Times) claims that Rozman may be popular but he is out of touch with the ground as the people here are now very unhappy with the government.

Among the points pointed out by the opposition in Labuan were unemployment and high cost of living that have hurt many of the islanders, while further burdened with the unpopular goods and services tax (GST).

Finally, it is the voters in Labuan that will cast their votes on this May 9 to decide who will win for Labuan parliamentary seat.

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