5,000 early voters set to skew Stampin results, claim opposition

Yong (left) speaks to reporters at the press conference while Chong (centre) and Pakatan Harapan-Democratic Action Party candidate for Bandar Kuching Dr Kelvin Yii listen in.

KUCHING, May 2: Some 5,000 voters who will be casting their votes early for Stampin parliamentary seat will skew the final results for this high profile seat which is seeing a straight fight betwen two prominent Chinese leaders here.

Pending assemblywoman Violet Yong said most of these voters, comprising army and police personnel who once worked here, are West Malaysians who will be flying in to cast their votes on May 5.

Stampin parliamentary seat consists of 4,299 early voters and 1,000 postal voters, and is hence described by the Opposition as a ‘risky’ seat as their chances of winning are affected.

Yong had said in a ‘ceramah’ that these “outsiders” (non-Sarawakians) will elect a Sarawak MP and hence Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) challenged her to make police report.

Showing photographs of previous state elections where many non-Sarawakians had travelled here for early voting, Yong said that SUPP should have all the details of early voters and should make them public.

“SUPP is championing for autonomy so why should they have to rely on West Malaysians to gain votes?” she said in the opposition coalition’s daily press conference today, adding that they have the responsibility to expose this, which is one of the many ways Barisan Nasional (BN) could engineer a win in the 14th general election (GE14).

Three-term Bandar Kuching MP Chong Chieng Jen has left his safe Bandar Kuching parliamentary seat for the ‘dangerous’ Stampin parliamentary seat to face SUPP president Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian, who resigned as a senator to wrest the seat for BN.

Chong is the two-term elected representative for the Kota Sentosa state seat while Sim won Batu Kawah in the 2016 state election with a majority of some 2,000 votes. Both state constituencies fall under Stampin.

Another state constituency under Stampin is Batu Kitang which was created during in the 2016 re-delineation exercise which is represented by SUPP’s Lo Khere Chiang, who is also Padawan Municipal Council chairman. Lo won the seat in a four-corner fight in the 2016 state election with some 1,800 majority votes.

Compared to the combined majority of some 3,800 (Batu Kawah and Batu Kitang), Chong on the other hand, is at a disadvantage with having won Kota Sentosa with a majority of 2,800.

The main factor which is often cited by the Opposition as being unfair and a “dirty tactic” was the carving out of another state seat, opposition-held Batu Lintang, which has a high precentage of some 28,000 Chinese voters. It was placed under Bandar Kuching.

The voters of Stampin have thereby decreased from some 84,000 in GE13 to 66,240 now, in which 64 per cent (42,521) are Chinese, followed by 18 per cent (12,240) Dayak, 16 per cent (10,706) Malay and others. About 8 per cent of the total voters are early voters and postal voters. — DayakDaily