The Tanjong Datu by-election will likely see at least a three-cornered fight between the state Barisan Nasional (BN) and two Opposition parties.
While the Sarawak BN has already confirmed Puan Seri Jamilah Anu, the 61-year old widow of late chief minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem as its choice, Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS Baru) and State Reform Party (STAR) confirmed they will be fielding candidates as well.
PBDS Baru is nominating native customary rights land activist Raphaelson Richard Hamid, while STAR will only disclose the name of its candidate tomorrow.
“We only announce the name of the candidate at the nomination centre tomorrow,” STAR president Lina Soo assured reporters today.
“We are spoiled for choice,” she said, adding that one of the four party leaders, including herself, will be chosen to stand on STAR’s ticket.
The other three likely candidates are party chairman Johnny Aput, deputy president Mura Kadir, and women’s wing head Salvia John.
Asked how sure STAR is going to contest this time, Soo replied, “There will be no U-turn.”
In the May 2016 state election, Mura was supposed to contest in Tanjong Datu, but failed to turn up at the nomination centre.
Asked why STAR decides to contest even with the small chance of winning, Soo said it is for the benefit of the people in Tanjong Datu.
“Contrary to popular opinion, the election process is not a waste of taxpayers’ money, but will benefit the local economy and bring development benefits and attention to the people of Tanjong Datu after decades of neglect.
“The Barisan will be pledging millions of worth of projects in this by-election so in this way, the people will benefit,” she reasoned.
Meanwhile, PBDS Baru president Cobbold John Lusoi said the party is fielding a Dayak candidate to protest against the failure of the state government to recognise territorial domain and communal forest reserve as native customary rights land.
“We are garnering support from the Dayak community if they believe that Raphaelson is fighting for their cause,” he said.
Raphaelson stood on Parti Amanah Negara’s ticket in the previous poll, but lost to Datuk Naroden Majais in Gedong.
State PKR, DAP, PAS and Amanah have since confirmed that they are not fielding candidates in the by-election which is held following the demise of the incumbent state assemblyman Adenan on Jan 11.
Tanjong Datu has 9,959 registered voters consisting of 53.20 per cent Malay-Muslims, 18.6 per cent Iban, 17.6 per cent ethnic Chinese, 10.1 per cent Bidayuh, 0.2 per cent Orang Ulu, and 0.3 per cent others.
On the 2016 state election, Adenan retained the Tanjong Datu seat when he defeated Jazolkipli Numan of PKR by 5,892 votes. He polled 6,360 votes against 468 by Jazolkipli.
Adenan had represented Tanjong Datu in 2006, after being the assemblyman for Muara Tuang since 1978.
Source : @ Malay Mail Online