by Johnson K Saai, email@example.com. Posted on April 17, 2013, Wednesday
Chief Minister ends speculations over choice of candidates by unveiling the final list
KUCHING: Eight new candidates are in the the State Barisan Nasional (BN) candidates list unveiled by Chief Minister Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud at the Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) headquarters here yesterday.
Speaking after announcing the candidates, Taib disclosed that the constituencies which will see new faces were Mas Gading, Kota Samarahan, Bandar Kuching, Saratok, Sibu, Miri, Baram and Hulu Rajang.
“Of the 31 parliamentary seats we are going to contest, eight of our candidates are new faces. Out of the eight one is a female, Rubiah Wang, who is our candidate for Kota Samarahan,” he said.
Taib, who is State BN chairman, revealed that the seats with the change of candidates were three each from Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) and Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) and one each for PBB and Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS).
SPDP dropped Jelaing Mersat in Saratok and Datuk Jacob Dungau Sagan in Baram while it has chosen Anthony Nogeh Gumbek for the Mas Gading seat.
Jelaing was replaced by the party president and Pakan assemblyman Tan Sri William Mawan Ikom while in Baram Sagan was replaced by Anyie Ngau.
Nogeh’s inclusion ended speculations that now-partyless Datuk Dr Tiki Lafe could be re-nominated to stand as a direct BN candidate.
The change in PBB is the fielding of Rubiah in Kota Samarahan in place of Dato Sri Sulaiman Abdul Rahman Taib while for PRS the party dropped Datuk Billy Abit Joo and replaced him with Wilson Ugak Kumbong in Hulu Rajang.
The new faces from SUPP are Temenggong Vincent Lau Lee Ming for Sibu, the party’s youth chief Tan Kai (Bandar Kuching) and Datuk Sebastian Ting the political secretary to Datuk Seri Peter Chin (Miri).
“The changes are made based on the assessment carried on the performance of the respective parliamentarians over the past few months and we believe the candidates we have will be able to assist our Prime Minister to get better mandate from the people following the political swing in the 2008 general elections,” he said.
Taib also said with the combination of old and new faces in the line-up the state BN was confident that it would contribute towards BN’s overall success in the polls.
“We believe we can win at least 23 to 27 out of the 31 seats we are going to contest in this general election,” he said.
Met at the lobby when leaving the PBB headquarters, he again reaffirmed his confidence by telling The Borneo Post that the state BN should be able to win two thirds of the parliamentary seats in Sarawak.
In the 2008 general election Sarawak only lost Bandar Kuching to the DAP but in 2010 it lost another seat when Wong Ho Leng, also from DAP won the by-election in Sibu following the death of its incumbent the late Datuk Robert Lau Hoi Chew.
Of the 31 parliamentary constituencies in Sarawak, PBB as the backbone of the state BN, held 14 seats followed by SUPP (seven), PRS (six) and SPDP (four).
Among those present at the media conference that was held after a state BN leaders meeting were presidents of the component parties except for SUPP who was represented by its deputy Datuk Richard Riot who will be defending his seat in Serian and Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Alfred Jabu.