Party insiders are not happy with the risk SPDP president William Mawan is taking in Saratok.
KUCHING: Sources from within Sarawak Barisan Nasional are worried that the leadership’s decision to field Senior Minister and Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) president William Mawan in Saratok constituency may backfire.
Mawan was yesterday named as BN’s candidate in Saratok. He replaces three-term incumbent Jelaing Mersat. Mawan was picked from 13 aspirants.
His challenger is PKR’s Ali Biju. Ali is Krian assemblyman. In the 2011 state election, he slayed SPDP deputy president Peter Nyarok.
In an immediate reaction, BN insiders said the political situation in Saratok was dangerously fluid.
“We feel that Mawan has little chance of fighting Ali. Firstly, he [Mawan] is not a local. He is being imported from Julau.
“Secondly, the locals in Saratok are against him as he appears to have no respect for the local politicians; a number of them are professionals.
“The party could have chosen one of its university lecturers, lawyers, engineers, corporate figures and administrators to be the candidate,” the sources said. Party image at stake
Party insiders are also worried because Mawan, being a minister and the president of the party, was putting the party’s image at risk if he loses in Saratok.
“We don’t want the president of the party to lose as it may affect the party’s image as a whole,” they said, pointing out that Ali had defeated Nyarok in the 2011 state election.
“In the event he loses, the party will go haywire,” insiders said.
Mawan, however, claims the decision to nominate himself came after months of monitoring the situation in Saratok.
“I take this as a challenge and see myself as the last person standing and will take full responsibility for whatever the outcome in the future.
“I am lucky and I am aware of the situation in Saratok because it is near my Pakan constituency.
“We have gone to the ground and have been monitoring the situation for three months. We are prepared,” he said.
Mawan is among the five new faces announced by the Sarawak BN chairman Abdul Taib Mahmud in Kuching yesterday.
The others are former Asajaya district officer Rubiah Wang for Kota Samarahan, ex-deputy general manager of Sarawak Land Consolidation and Rehabilitation Authority (Salcra), Anthony Nogih (Mas Gading), Wilson Ugah Kumbong (Hulu Rajang) who is the Private Secretary to Land Development Minister and ex-Limbang district officer Anyi Ngau (Baram).
Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) had three new faces namely Tan Kai (Bandar Kuching), Vincent Lau (Sibu) and Sebastian Ting (Miri).
PBB will contest in 14 out of the 31 parliamentary seats in Sarawak. The rest are allocated to SUPP (seven), Parti Rakyat Sarawak (six) and SPDP (four).
‘Let’s have a clean fight’
Meanwhile, Mawan’s challenger Ali has welcomed the contest.
“I welcome Mawan’s contest in Saratok. In fact, I am honoured to have a senior minister and SPDP president as my challenger.
“The only thing is that he should not abuse his position as a state minister and use the state government’s machinery and facilities.