Political parties have gotten off to a running start in the race to win the hearts of voters in the 16th Sabah state election.

According to the Election Commission (EC), a total of 447 candidates from 17 parties including independent candidates are qualified to contest for 73 state seats with 1.12 million voters.

As soon as the nomination process ended today, candidates began sharing their heavy daily schedules with media practitioners that include meet-and-greet sessions with the people, political talks (ceramah) and various other programmes throughout the campaign period.

Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal who is defending the Senallang seat, for one, began his election campaign by meeting with the people of Pulau Bum Bum, accompanied by his wife Datin Seri Shuryani Shuaib.

Donning a white shirt and a cap with the Warisan (Parti Warisan Sabah) logo, the party president calmly went about greeting the residents, lending his ear, listening to their grievances.

Meanwhile, Sabah Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) chief Datuk Hajiji Noor also started his campaign in Sulaman in style, wearing a red 'baju Melayu' during a meet-and-greet session with the voters in the constituency.

Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) Information chief Datuk Joniston Bangkuai who is vying for the Kiulu seat launched his campaigning at a meet-and-greet session, while observing the standard operating procedure (SOP) to contain the COVID-19 outbreak.

Sharing the spotlight was former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak who was seen spending time with the people in the Kukusan constituency and attending ceramah with UMNO Youth members.

Heavy rains in Putatan this afternoon did not stop BN candidate in Tanjung Keramat, Ir Shahelmey Yahya in his bid to win the hearts of the voters in the constituency accompanied by Rembau Member of Parliament Khairy Jamaluddin, who is also Technology, Science and Innovation Minister.

Meanwhile, DAP, contesting under the Warisan logo, joined in the fray of meeting with voters in several business areas, religious centres and public places.

The candidate contesting in the Moyog seat, who is also former International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Darell Leiking is among DAP's notable figures, apart from its Wanita vice-chief Hannah Yeoh and assistant secretary Young Syefura Othman who were seen going to the grounds.

Parti Cinta Sabah (PCS) candidate for the Tanjung Keramat seat, Ira Elza Uzair, a United Kingdom graduate in accounting, shared a special video with the voters, promoting her main agenda of 'political and leadership redirection towards pro-people'.

The 16th Sabah state election kicked off today with a one-hour nomination process which began at 9 am.

The state election is being held following the dissolution of the state legislative assembly announced by Shafie on July 30, one day after former chief minister Tan Sri Musa Aman claimed he had enough majority to form a new state government.