As polling day looms, nothing is taken for granted in P202 Sri Aman

Doris (right) greeting a vegetable vendor during a visit to the Simanggang community market.

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Commentary

By Wilfred Pilo

ALL the hopeful candidates vying to win the P202 Sri Aman seat in the 15th General Election (GE15) have their work cut out for them.

For Gabungan Parti Sarawak-Parti Rakyat Sarawak (GPS-PRS) candidate Dato Sri Doris Sophia Brodie, will her charm as a leader of substance with over 37 years of experience in politics, be enough to convince the voters?

She has been working hard on the ground to meet the people to garner support, and has covered the length and breadth of the constituency in her bid to woo voters from every corner.

A victory for her on polling day will only solidify P202 Sri Aman’s status as a GPS bastion in the Iban heartlands, as all its three State seats – Simanggang, Bukit Bangunan, and Balai Ringin – currently represented by GPS coalition parties.

Despite rumours of intense lobbying leading up to nomination day, there is no dispute over her nomination to represent GPS when on Nov 3, Doris received the appointment letter signed by Premier of Sarawak Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg.

In the early days of the campaigning period, Doris ran into some controversy about her ties to the constituency. The issue was quickly resolved after it was highlighted Doris has and maintains roots in Entebar, Undop, Sri Aman.

PRS and GPS’ coalition election machinery have rallied around her to line Simanggang’s streets with election billboards, posters and GPS flags as well as at strategic localities.

However, she is not one to take things for granted. If anything, with less than 72 hours to go til polling day, Doris is picking up the pace even more.

In fact, as the 14-day campaign period for GE15 draws to a close, every candidate vying for P202 Sri Aman is in a tug-of-war for the hearts and minds of its voters.

A favourite saying of Doris’ is, “We cannot be complacent”, and that may be what will carry her first past the post.

It has already served her well on the campaign trail. She has won the full support of many community leaders, but the big question mark is how many other voters will follow suit.

The only thing which is safe to say is that she still has a mountain to climb!

To be fair to Doris, the three other candidates for P202 Sri Aman–incumbent Dato Masir Kujat who is contesting as an independent, Wilson Entebang (Parti Sarawak Bersatu) and Naga Libau@Tay Wei Wei (Pakatan Harapan) all have an uphill task ahead.

The GPS election machinery in the last few days has cranked up gears but too so have the opponents’.

Has Doris done enough? Is there anything more she can do before polling day?

There are suggestions that she must meet town folks a second time as there are whispers through the grapevine that what will be the key to her victory in P202 Sri Aman are the urban votes.

It is undeniable that Doris has been putting comparatively more efforts in the rural part of her constituency which is a big area.  The argument of supporting the ruling coalition’s candidate such as Doris is a strong one in the rural area, especially now the whole world’s economy is in bad shape from the Covid-19 pandemic and people are facing difficult times. However, none can tell what will be the outcome as of now.

Meanwhile, P202 Sri Aman has 50,164 voters, with half being women. What percentage will come out to vote? How many will come out on “D-Day”?

The official result on Nov 19 will answer these questions.

For the time being and with time ticking away, many voters by now would have given thought as to which candidate they are going to choose.

The purple ink on their index finger is a symbol of each citizen’s democratic right to choose their leaders. Choose wisely. — DayakDaily