Kunak rep Norazlina Arif wins tense race to become new Warisan Wanita chief

KOTA KINABALU: Kunak assemblyman Norazlina Arif has won a close race to become the new Parti Warisan Wanita chief, winning by only a razor-thin seven votes majority against contender Jenifer Lasimbang on Friday (Aug 26).

Norazlina, who denied speculations she was quitting the Opposition party last October, collected 68 votes against the 61 garnered by Lasimbang, a former Moyog assemblyman as well as former state assistant minister.

Party members started voting for their candidates at 3pm at the Hongkod Koisaan Hall in Penampang near here.

Warisan is holding its annual general meeting for two days starting Friday, with the Wira, Wanita and Wirawati wings’ meetings and elections held simultaneously on the first day.

The race for the Warisan Wanita chief position, it was learned, was quite intense, as team members from both camps vied for support from other party members during the campaigning.

It was also learned that the campaign verged on personal attacks.

But after the results were announced after 5pm, both Norazlina and Lasimbang embraced each other on stage, seemingly burying the hatchet over what was a tense rivalry for the position.

Outgoing Warisan Wanita chief Datuk Aminah Jabarkhan chose not to defend the position.

Nurfaizah Chua won the race to become Norazlina’s deputy.

Norazlina and Lasimbang, who is the Penampang Warisan division deputy chief, were not always rivals.

In fact, both were part of the same team back in 2019 when the former challenged for the same position while Lasimbang contested to become her deputy.

But both lost in their respective bids that year.

In October last year, Norazlina and Kukusan representative Rina Jainal both strongly denied claims they were leaving Warisan.

Both assemblymen had said that there was no truth to the claims and they were fully behind the party and its president Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal.

Rina, however, quit the party on June 5 to join the little-known Parti Harapan Rakyat Sabah, which is applying to become a component party of the ruling state coalition Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS).

Kinabatangan Youth chief Ismail Ayob meanwhile has come out top in the contest to become the new Warisan Youth chief while Ismail Sabran, who is the Tawau Wira chief, will be his deputy.

Outgoing Warisan Youth chief Datuk Azis Jamman also chose not to defend the position, saying earlier he was making a sacrifice to let other younger leaders step into the limelight.