Source: The Borneo Post
By Raynore Mering
KUCHING: The Barisan Nasional candidate for the Batang Ai by-election will be announced this Saturday.
Chief Minister Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud will chair a state BN meeting that day to decide on the candidate, whose name has been proposed by Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS).
Taib, who is the state BN chairman, told reporters yesterday that he would name the candidate as soon as “we have it” on Saturday, adding he would not make a decision on his own.
PRS president Dato Sri Dr James Masing had submitted the name of his party’s nominee to Taib on March 4, and had also notified Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak the same day.
Masing has kept mum about who he had proposed to take up the BN banner in Batang Ai following the demise of PRS vice-president Datuk Dublin Unting on Feb 24.
However, he said he had proposed only one name to Taib, and yesterday he refuted claims that his nominee was rejected, requiring him to propose another candidate.
“There is no truth to it (the rumour that his proposed candidate is rejected). I was never asked to send the name of another candidate,” he said.
Masing, the Land Development Minister, suspected that the rumour was the work of bloggers, who were out to create confusion on the grounds.
Several names have been bandied about as the BN candidate, and recently Malcolm Mossen Lamoh, who is from Batang Ai and a close friend of Dublin, is said to be the frontrunner.
Mossen, a 49-year-old engineer with a government department, has refused to comment on the talks.
Nevertheless, a source in PRS said that Mossen was well-liked in Batang Ai and that his name had cropped up in past elections.
“He (Mossen) is a well-educated, hardworking and helpful person. He is also a humble man,” said the source, adding that Mossen’s late father was a very influential headman in the area.
On the opposite side of the fence, it is believed that Pakatan Rakyat (PR) would field a Parti Keadilan Rakyat candidate — either Batang Ai division chief Nicholas Bawin Anggat or Jawah Gerang the former Lubok Antu MP.
Bawin had locked horns with Dublin in the 2006 state election. He lost by 806 votes after Dublin polled 3,295 votes. Jawah, however, is said to be the likely candidate.
Uchu Keling thinks…
If its really CHANGE that the Batang Ai voters want, then PR should be nominating a young, energetic, one who understands the administrative procedures to bring in development, people-friendly and is able to maintain at least one Pusat Khidmat Masyarakat in Batang Ai candidate. Or, are we expecting recycled candidates from the Pakatan Rakyat?
However, the immediate changes that Batang Ai will see if Pakatan Rakyat were to win this by-election, will be the (administrative and technical) delays in the various on-going development projects in the area. Projects that will change the livelihood of many people, especially those enterprising ones.
After reading Nadai Nama’s post, I was equally surprise to see so much changes in the small border town of Lubok Antu since my last visit 2 years ago. And, we will see more changes, once the 25-years agreement with SALCRA ends. The changes will however, depends on how ready the people of Batang Ai are. Can they maintain the supply of commodity that we export out to other countries that drive our economics? If not, then leave it to the experts and we (the people) should remain as supportive and as enterprising as we are today.. until we are ready economically.
For that changes to happen, the people do not need to be a BN or PR supporter, because their fate is all in their own hands. With or without BN or PR, food do not just walk in onto our dinner table, it have to be worked upon and earned.
If BN succeeded in changing the mentality of the Dayaks, it could have happen years back. And, it do not need the PR to do so. Why it have not change or very little change, it is all because of ourselves who do not want to change.
Finally, we are so confused and angry about things that we do not know of. When we mention Iban politics, we always associate it with NCR issues; but I believe it is more than just NCR. It is actually us. The problem is us. Not BN or PR. To some of us politics should be associated with good economics. No matter how strong our Iban politics about NCR, development, etc. and if our economics management is not good, we will be subjected to be a poor government. That is the strong points of the Chinese-based parties.
Economic should be the top priority. In order to be politically strong one must be economically strong. Say we give back the land to the Ibans and if they can’t or continues to develop it themselves, the loser is – you know it yourself. Enda semua urang ulih ngadu ke pemansang tanah diri empu. Enda semua bala Iban nya kaya baka bala sekeda ke mai runding ke bisi udah di ayan ba sebelah Internet. Not many, but majority of the Iban still needs guidance and the guidance comes from the various government agencies today.
Anyway, why people are so angry with the Barisan Nasional? It is just the “in” thing today. So bala kaban, anang ringat laban urang mai tua ringat. Just because we read about other people’s anger, we too need to be angry? Just because the PR are angry in Perak, why should we be angry in Sarawak? Ari kitai ke ringat enda temu pasal, manah tua berunding cara niri ke bansa kitai empu. People like Dr. John Brian is an asset to the Iban if he allow himself to be an asset. I respect him for his good ideas in motivating the young Ibans on how to be self-independence.
A friend posted this somewhere on the Net: “I believe enti Dr. john nyadi CM (nunda ko iya) pan he will most likely continue with Taib’s policy. Enti aku pan nyadi CM.. I will most likely continue with his policy.” And, I echoed him and to me, the Chief Minister needs to run the state like a big profitable corporation.
Till we hear the announcement this Saturday, it seem that our Pehin Sri and Datuk Patinggi are playing their cards very close to their chest.