Thursday, April 21, 2011

‘Free flow of beer, threats and cash in Layar’

Joseph Tawie | April 21, 2011

Layar constituency where majority of the voters in some 90 longhouses face abject poverty, RM1,000 brought momentary relief.


KUCHING: Money politics allegedly played a key role in Layar PKR candidate Stanny Embat’s loss to incumbent and Deputy Chief Minister Alfred Jabu Numpang from Barisan Nasional-PBB.

Embat lost to Jabu by 1,916 votes. He obtained 1,787 votes against Jabu’s 3,703.

According to Embat, on the eve of April 16, bags of cash went into six longhouses.

Jabu allegedly spent “a million ringgit” to win Layar.

“Jabu knew the undercurrents against him were very strong, but he used money to buy them off.

“In Merunjau, Saka, Penurin, Ajong, Bungkang and Kerapa (longhouses), I was told by one of the tuai rumah (longhouse chief) that each of headmen was given RM5,000 and each “bilek” (door) of the longhouse was given RM1,000.

“If Jabu swept all the votes in the six longhouses, each of the doors would receive an extra RM1,000,” claimed Embat, pointing out that he got zero votes from these longhouses which have about 500 voters.

Embat said that one day before polling, he met a longhouse chief who told him that he and the residents of his longhouse had to vote for Jabu because of the money that he claimed was given to them.

Secondly, they were scared to be found out voting for the opposition as the votes were counted at the polling station.

Jabu would know whether the people of the six longhouses voted for him or not.

This time, the headman told Embat, he and the residents of his longhouse would have to vote for Jabu and next time when Jabu was no longer contesting, then they would vote for him (Embat).

Difficult to beat Jabu

Adding to the money politics, Jabu had to slaughter a pig for every longhouse and provide free flow of beer.

“Just imagine how much Jabu had to spend to secure votes from more than 90 longhouses in the Layar constituency.

“The amount could come to a million ringgit,” he said.

Embat admitted that it was very difficult to beat Jabu even though the voters were angry with him for failed promises, lack of development such as proper roads, water and electricity and the taking away of their land.

“When it comes to money, the voters forgot about their anger and their misery,” he said.

Jabu has been representing the constituency for more than 37 years.

Jabu secured 3,703 votes. Embat obtained 1,787 votes.

Joe Unggang of Sarawak National Party (SNAP) and an independent candidate Ngumbang @Kibak Datu obtained 183 and 170 votes respectively. Both of them lost their deposits.

The constituency has 8,100 voters, the bulk of which are Iban voters.

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