Pakatan keeps mum on potential Balingian candidates for now
Updated: Thursday February 20, 2014 MYT 3:49:33 PM
KUCHING: The state Pakatan Rakyat will not name its potential candidates for the Balingian by-election until the seat is officially vacated by outgoing Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud.
“At the moment we prefer not to mention names. We have not heard of the official resignation of the chief minister so I think it would be premature,” state PKR chairman Baru Bian said.
However, he said the coalition could begin considering potential candidates and that two names had already been recommended.
“Our priority is that it should be a local and if possible Melanau,” he added.
Balingian is a coastal Melanau-majority seat in central Sarawak. In the 2011 state election, Taib retained the seat with a 5,154-vote majority over Independent Datuk Salleh Jafaruddin who had 1,056 votes and PKR’s Suriati Abdullah who only polled 871 votes.
Taib will have to vacate the seat if he is to be sworn in as the Yang di-Pertua Negri on March 1, taking over from Tun Muhammad Salahuddin whose term ends on Feb 28.
A by-election must be held if the seat is vacated before June 20. Any vacancy after that would fall within two years of the expiry of the State Legislative Assembly’s current term and would not require a by-election.
Meanwhile, state PKR vice-chairman See Chee How said the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) must make known the outcome of its investigation into Taib before he is appointed as the next Governor.
He said the Rulers Conference should consider extending Salahuddin’s term for another three to six months to enable MACC to conclude its investigation and make public its findings.
“Nobody would doubt Taib’s capability and strength to undertake the official functions and role as the Governor. Even though he will not be immune from prosecution, Sarawakians would prefer that he be cleared of the corruption allegations against him before he assumes the office of Head of State,” he said in a statement.