Hornbill Unleashed

March 3, 2014

In Balingian by-election, Pakatan to gauge support for change of guards in Sarawak

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 12:00 AM
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With the dismal performance in the 2011 state election still fresh in their minds, PKR Sarawak is realistic but hopeful when it comes to their chances in the soon-to-be-called by-election for Balingian, a coastal Malay-Melanau majority state seat.

“We admit and we concede we are the underdogs,” state PKR chief Baru Bian (pic) told a media conference after chairing the party’s state leadership meeting in Kuching, today.

“(The Balingian seat) is probably one of the toughest Barisan Nasional seats (to win).

“But that does not demoralise us. Like they always say, anything can happen in politics,” he said of the by-election, triggered by the resignation of its incumbent, former chief minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud.

Taib had to give up the seat to accept the post of Yang di-Pertua Negeri, succeeding Tun Abang Muhammad Salahuddin Abang Barieng whose term ended yesterday.

In the 2011 state election, PKR candidate Suriati Abdullah was trounced in a three-corner fight for the seat of 11,792 voters, gaining only 871 votes, against Taib who won by a 5,154 majority. His closest rival was his cousin Datuk Salleh Jafaruddin, who stood as an independent, who gained only 1,056 votes.

Despite the dismal showing, Baru says the coming by-election is interesting as it would be “a barometer to determine a few things”.

For example, the Ba Kelalan assemblyman said, it would show whether the people support the new chief minister, whose appointment was preplanned, as well as Taib as the Yang di-Pertua Negeri.

Baru said Taib’s decision to pick Tan Sri Adenan Satem to succeed him was a clear example of cronyism, adding that the by-election would show if the people supported such a practice.

He also said PKR would be able to gauge if there would be a change in the support of the people towards the present government, particularly at a time when people grapple with rising costs of living.

“The changing situation will help us. We stood there in 2011 and now we’ll see how much improvement can we get in this by-election.

“It’ll be a good precursor for the state election,” Baru added.

Apart from the living costs, one of the main issues PKR would raise in their campaign, Baru said the messages that the party had been trying to share with the people even during last year’s general election “must go to the ground”.

“A lot of things have been proven correct like rising costs of living, corruption, nepotism and cronyism.

“My proposal is the manifesto of PR must be explained further.

“This time around, it is an opportunity for us. We hope more and more people will be convinced of what we have been saying, hopefully more and more will support us.

“I expect some increase in the support in the by-election. Time has changed and I believe people now have realised that what PR said was true.”

See Chee How, chairman of PKR’s state election committee, has been tasked to assess the two shortlisted candidates.

See, the Batu Lintang assemblyman, will travel to Balingian on March 5 to “gather feedback on the ground” which he would use to compile a dossier for the state leadership to consider.

“We have more or less who we want in mind,” See said.

Suriati, however, is not on the list, said See, citing her poor health.



  1. I try not to be a snob on this issue but it is a proven fact that the population due to their overwhelmingly ignorance it is a hard nut to crack trying to change their mindsets. They were so entrenched with the past lies and repeated lies poured on them that every lies is a truth to them. It need a character of Jesus, Mohamad,Laotze,Confucius,Gandhi to change their perspective on reality. Opposition need a miracle to win the seat.

    Comment by loyarburok — March 3, 2014 @ 1:00 PM | Reply

  2. Guards changed what? PKR has to steal the seat and its tough job but must try!

    Comment by Umai — March 3, 2014 @ 9:49 AM | Reply

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