Ba’kelalan seat: Former rep hopes to exploit crack in Baru’s support

Datuk Nelson Balang Rining

By D’Drift Team

LIMBANG, July 6: Potential Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) candidate for Ba’kelalan Datuk Nelson Balang Rining sees his prospects of winning the Lun Bawang majority seat in the coming state election as a 50-50 chance against incumbent Baru Bian.

He opined that Baru had a stronger support base when the latter was still with Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), than after he joined Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) recently.

“So now that he has jumped over to PSB, he has created confusion among his supporters while some of them are still in PKR, there are others who joined him to join PSB.

“But for us in Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS), our support base has been gaining momentum and so his (Baru) supporters have realised that his jumping over to PSB was a wrong move and they think that GPS is a better option,” he told the D’Drift Team on Saturday (July 4).

Balang, who is the PDP secretary-general, believes that his chance to wrest back the seat he once represented for two terms was ‘fair’.

“Both of us now have a 50-50 chance. This is because when he (Baru) was the Minister of Works at that time, his rating was higher. But after the fall of PH (Pakatan Harapan) and describing himself as an ‘intelligent frog’ by joining PSB, we now have a fair chance to win the seat,” he said.

As for how he planned to recapture the Ba’kelalan seat, Balang said he has a secret strategy to neutralise Baru’s influence.

“Of course I cannot reveal to you our secret strategy. But what’s important is to engage the young voters because they have influence over their parents and community in villages,” he highlighted.

He also emphasised that the role of social media must be maximised in order to reach out to voters.

For the record, Balang managed to beat Baru in two elections, with the first occasion during the 2004 by-election after the demise of former assemblyman Datuk Dr Judson Sakai Tagal in a helicopter crash in Pa Lungan, and the other in the 2006 state election.

In the 2004 by-election, Balang won with a majority of 1,452 votes but in the 2006 state election, his majority dropped to 475 votes. — DayakDaily