SPDP expects tough fight in Baram parliamentary seat

KUCHING, Aug 17 (Bernama) — Even though the Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) is confident of retaining all its four parliamentary seats in the coming general election, the Baram seat is expected to see a tough fight due to issues relating to the Baram dam construction, its president Tan Sri William Mawan said.

He said the party and state Barisan Nasional (BN) needed to win the people’s trust and confidence by going to the ground to rectify the situation so as to allay their unfounded fears on the proposed dam, which would affect more than 20,000 people from 25 settlements.

“I have told our Baram Member of Parliament (Datuk Jacob Sagan) to visit the longhouses and villages in the area and address their fears or else the opposition will jump in, not because they can solve their problems but they will try to appear to be the champions,” Mawan, who is also state Social Development Minister told a press conference here.

Apart from Baram, SPDP’s parliamentary constituencies are Bintulu, Mas Gading and Saratok.

He said people tended to spin negative publicity on the issue by capitalising on the people’s fears of being displaced as a result of the Bakun hydro electric dam project experience. — BERNAMA

SPDP’s Sagan Unhappy Over Speculation On His Candidacy

MIRI, Aug 2 (Bernama) — Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Jacob Sagan has expressed his displeasure over constant media speculation that he will likely be replaced at the last minute in the coming 13th general election.

Sagan, who is Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) senior vice-president, said the media reports would confuse voters in the Baram parliamentary constituency as the party had made the decision to retain him as Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate for the Baram seat.

“It (speculation) will demoralise people in the constituency,” he said after presenting government grants worth RM251,000 to 17 recipients at the Miri Resident Office, here, Thursday.

Media reports recently said that at least five candidates were vying for the predominantly rural Baram seat which might replace Sagan if the leadership deemed him not a winnable candidate.

On another issue, Sagan who is the Baram hydroelectric project community consultative committee (BCCC) chairman, said landowners affected by the construction of the 58km road from Long Lama to Baram dam had been assured that the ongoing survey of their land would be conducted fair and square. — BERNAMA

Baram Dam a threat for BN in coming polls — Mawan

Source: Borneo Post

KUCHING: If BN stronghold Baram falls in the coming 13th general election, the key reason would be the people’s strong opposition to the proposed RM3 billion Baram Dam.

The magnitude of the negative issues surrounding the dam is such that SPDP president Tan Sri William Mawan could not state for sure whether to describe it as “grey white” or “quite white”.

What he is certain though is that Baram can be retained if all leaders from the BN coalition rally together to neutralise the negative issues, and not leave everything to SPDP to handle.

Mawan said the dam project was a threat because many villagers in the affected areas, especially young Kenyah, were against it.

“A lot of young people among the Kenyah community are against it (project), and of course we will try to neutralise the issues. When I say it (Baram seat) is white others will say it is grey. But definitely some leaders in the government need to help us to neutralise the situation.

“I hope people won’t see it as, ‘it is a SPDP seat, so it is your (SPDP) problem’. I believe it should involve everybody. It can’t be entirely SPDP alone (to neutralise the negative issues),” he told reporters at Sarawak Club Golf Resort Samarahan near here yesterday.

Mawan, who is also Minister of Social Development, opined that some unsolved issues relating to the Bakun Dam might be the main reason why some villagers were against the Baram Dam.

“As far as our party is concern, we will set up another operation room in Long Lama. We will be holding a discussion with Barisan Nasional headquarters about the need to neutralise some of the negative issues surrounding the dam.

“Time is not exactly on our side. I’ll be going to see few longhouses, probably next week.”

Baram MP and Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Jacob Dungau Sagan recently said a special committee for the relocation of the effected villagers had been set up.

The committee, headed by him and assisted by Telang Usan assemblyman Dennis Ngau, would look for the best ways to relocate some 20,000 people from 25 longhouses and riverine settlements.

The Orang Ulu community is the largest group in Baram, followed by the Iban. Sagan won the seat with a 4,044 vote-majority during the 12th general election in 2008.