A report in the Daily Express might give you some insight into the kind of work going on there.
And in the course of that work, I have had the pleasure and privilege of meeting and working with some of the leaders and members from PKR, DAP and SAPP in Labuan.
The parliamentary seat of Labuan is currently held by UMNO / BN.
In the 2004 12th GE, UMNO’s Suhaili Abdul Rahman, the incumbent, garnered 11,087 votes against 3,186 votes that went the way of PAS candidate Matusin Abdul Rahman to retain the seat for UMNO /BN.
Voter turnout that year was 14,761 or 68.59%, with 488 spoilt votes.
The breakdown of voters according to ethnicity in 2004 was :
Chinese: 25.20% Indians: 2.20 Bumiputra Muslims: 37% Others: 35.60%
In the 12th GE, Suhaili Abdul Rahman was dropped and replaced by Yusoff Mahal, who was involved in a 3-corner contest involving PAS candidate Matusin Abdul Rahman and independent candidate Lau Seng Kiat.
Yusoff Mahal won, polling 10,471 votes, Lau came in second with 2,014 votes, whilst Matusin managed only 1,106 votes, losing his deposit.
Voter turnout was 14,149 or 68.1%, with 311 spoilt votes.
Why did the PAS candidate fare the worst of the 3 candidates?
I’m told by the locals, including some of the Muslims, that the lifestyle of the majority in Labuan simply does not favour a PAS candidate.
Notice how in Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur in the 12th GE, of the 11 parliamentary seats there, PAS only contested and won in only 1 seat, that is, Titiwangsa?
Might this have anything to do, however slight, with the lifestyle of a large number of KLites, including those who profess Islam as their faith who, then, at least, might have been more ready to dump BN if the alternative was a non-PAS candidate?
The locals I spoke to in Labuan feel that given local sentiment, a non-PAS Malay candidate has a better chance of displacing UMNO / BN come the next elections.
Specifically, they have stated a preference for a Malay candidate from PKR.
The DAP, PKR and SAPP members and leaders I spoke to share this view, with one proviso.
PKR in Labuan, they tell me, is split into 2 factions.
Unless the PKR top leadership can get the 2 factions to settle their differences, picking a PKR candidate from either faction, assuming PAS makes way, risks internal sabotage from the other faction.
I am told that Sabah PKR chief, Tamrin Jailani, who I met in Labuan on 22nd February, has been asked by the local Labuan Pakatan leaders to intervene and resolve the dispute between the 2 factions in PKR Labuan.
DAP, PKR and SAPP members and leaders in Labuan that I have met have told me that they are confident that if PAS will make way and PKR resolve their internal differences and offer a solid candidate, Labuan can be ABUed.
Can we work together to ABUkan Labuan?