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Feb 26, 2008

Kurup almost hit; BN flag burnt

Kota Kinabalu: Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (PBRS) Chief Tan Sri Joseph Kurup - who won the Pensiangan parliamentary seat uncontested after two other candidates were disqualified for submitting their nomination papers late - was almost assaulted by opposition supporters.

They were unhappy with the disqualification of their candidates. The incident occurred when the veteran was leaving the Nabawan Community Centre at about 1.30pm.

The two other candidates - Parti Keadilan Rakyat's (PKR) Saineh Usau and an Independent, Danny Anthony Andipai - walked in after 10am, just minutes after the one-hour nomination period closed and handed in their respective nomination forms.This received objection from Kurup's camp and subsequently his two supposed challengers were disqualified.

Speaking to reporters at the Keningau police station, the BN candidate alleged the aggressors were PKR supporters. "I was nearly hit on the face by one of them and I almost fell," he said, adding that the EC had stipulated that the time to hand over the nomination papers was from 9am to 10am.

"When there was a disturbance near the place, we (BN team) decided to leave. Some in the crowd appeared to be protesting (against the decision)...so I headed for my car," he said.

Kurup said he knew the man who wanted to punch him but missed. "They were probably angry when the PKR candidate was rejected. But it is not our culture (to hit people)," he added. He said the incident should not have happened as there were rules and regulations set by the EC to be followed.

However, after receiving the good news (winning uncontested), he feels happy and is ready to serve the people in the constituency although the incident had marred the whole event.

He was escorted by police to Keningau Hospital for a check-up after his press conference.

Kurup was Parti Bersatu Sabah secretary-general but decided to quit the party and set up PBRS in 1994.

The Pensiangan seat, which has 18,075 voters, was won by BN's Bernard Maraat in the 2004 general election with a 608-vote majority, beating two other candidates.

Meanwhile, in Tenom, BN supporters expressed their dissatisfaction over the choice of candidates by burning the BN flag in protest.

It was learnt that they were not happy with the BN leadership over the fielding of incumbents Ramie Unggi (Tenom Parliamentary seat), Datuk Rubin Balang (Kemabong) and Datuk Radin Malleh (Melalap). They claimed it was contrary to their high expectations of new faces being fielded for the polls. It was understood that police are investigating.


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