from Batang Ai by-election
Abang Johari, deputy president of Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) said that Jawah Gerang’s winning streak in the Lubok Antu parliamentary constituency in the past was possible because of the Barisan Nasional (BN).
Abang Johari was not correct: either he suffers from amnesia or he conveniently forgets. It was Jawah’s own efforts and the efforts of the then president of Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS) Daniel Tajem and past president Leo Moggie.
In fact the State Barisan Nasional tried very hard to end the winning streak in the 2004 parliamentary election when the State BN put up an independent candidate William Nyallau Badak against him. The State BN said that Nyallau was the “true” BN candidate and Jawah was the “counterfeit” BN candidate.
Two other PBDS candidates, Joseph Salang for the Julau Constituency and Aaron Dagang for the Kanowit, were also labeled as “counterfeit” BN candidates. They were challenged by “true” BN candidates Josephine Mawat (Julau) and Federick Bunsu (Kanowit).
Jawah, Salang and Aaron were supposed to have received federal BN funds to finance their elections, but that money was hijacked; instead it was given to the “true” BN candidates.
Assisting and campaigning for Nyallau (although independent candidate) were the entire Sarawak civil service, the Lubok Antu District Council, the councilors, teachers, ministers, Tuai Rumah, Penghulu, PBB, SUPP, SPDP and the other half of PBDS led by James Masing.
It was a very, very and very tough battle, and much tougher than he is facing now and yet Jawah managed to get through with 2,035 majority votes, a far cry from the 6,662 majority votes obtained in the 1999 parliamentary election.
2. Is Desmond Sating contesting?
My friend Desmond Sating was overheard talking to one of his friends that he is interested to contest the Batang by-election.
A lecturer with a private college, Sating should have been picked as a candidate by Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS). After all he is a PRS member. Instead Malcolm Mussen, a senior civil servant was chosen.
This is the second time that Sating has been sidelined. In the last parliamentary election, his name was top of the list. Instead William Nyallau Badak, a PBB sympathizer then, was selected not by PRS, but by Alfred Jabu.
It was said that Jabu and his wife Empiang met Chief Minister several times insisting that William be the candidate. Now everyone knows that Nyallau is a PBB man wearing PRS shirt.
3. Salang’s second visit to Lubok Antu
Within days, Joseph Salang, PRS information chief and deputy water, energy and communications minister, made another visit to Lubok Antu in order to campaign for Malcolm Mussen, the PRS candidate.
This time he did not bring any goodies for the people. Instead he repeated what he had said few days back – RM6 million for the setting up of five communications towers and RM2 million for the community broadband centre.
We would have thought that something more useful and beneficial should have been brought along as goodies, something that will help improve the people’s economic well-being.
How would you expect the longhouse people, especially the aged ones to own computers and get access to internets? You may ask: what about young people?
Ya, most of them are working in towns, cities and overseas. There again the question of electricity, as some longhouses do not have electricity although the hydro-electric dam is at their doorsteps. No doubt such facilities are good, but only good for people living in towns.
4. Lubok Antu is full of “antus” (ghosts)
Lubok Antu, as the name implies, is a town full of mysterious stories as political “antus” have come all the way from West Malaysia, Sabah and all over Sarawak to give support to their respective “fighting cocks” this Sunday, the nomination day for the Batang Ai by-election.
Several YBs whose names we have never heard have now arrived from West Malaysia. There are stories where foods are not enough, hotel accommodation is very rare, and car parking is extremely difficult. Some bring their tents.
For some West Malaysians, it is an opportunity to sleep in the longhouses and for them to understand the local culture. Look like there is a big festival in Lubok Antu as BN and PKR are putting up their respective flags and buntings.
Indeed it is a war of flags, buntings and posters. How we wish that more by-elections be held in the near future because in the end the people will benefit.
I receive an SMS from a friend that before you go to Lubok Antu, you must fill your car tank full with petrol. Petrol has become a rare commodity here due to the by-election. It can only be sold to those who hold a BN card. Such is the seriousness of the Batang Ai by-election. Well, to solve this problem you can ask your BN friend to lend his BN card. For PKR, they can order a trailer to transport petrol to Lubok Antu.
6. Nine “black” or “grey” areas for BN
PRS has identified nine polling districts where it is considered “black” or “grey” areas based on the results of the previous election. There are 24 polling districts.
Like PRS, PKR has also identified its own “black” areas and has been stationing its own people in order to neutralize the situation.
There are 4,065 male voters and 4,064 female voters with 4,817 voters whose ages are 51 and below. The elder voters are 3,312.
It is expected that the turn-out for the by-election is going to be low due to the fact that 7 April is a working day.
7. MB Selangor to Lubok Antu
Menteri Besar Selangor Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim (pic below) will arrive in Lubok Antu today (Sat, 28 Mar) and will visit Nanga Mepi among others.
Preparations are under way to welcome him and his entourage. He is expected to address the people on how he runs Selangor, the richest and the most advanced State in Malaysia.
How his government helps the poor in education, in water bill, during funerals, etc. Hopefully the eyes and minds of the people of Lubok Antu will be open.
More to come…stay tune to www.thebrokenshield.blogspot.com
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