Bersatu’s Ali holds fast to Saratok, so does Mordi who manages to keep Mas Gading

The PDP Four (from lefT): Anyi, Lidang, Tiong and Giendam.

By Nur Ashikin Louis

KUCHING, Nov 20: Despite all of its efforts to wrest back Saratok and Mas Gading in the 15th General Election (GE15), Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) has failed to reclaim both seats which it has lost since GE14.

Failing to induce any changes, PDP continues to hold on to only Baram and Bintulu.

Saratok has always been a hot seat since Ali came into the picture in 2018. He has been such a popular leader that his reputation spreads from Saratok to even Betong. The constituency has become his stronghold as he attracts many followers with his very down-to-earth personality and sincere approach.

Ali’s popularity is undisputably why PDP’s candidate Giendam Jonathan Tait failed to regain the seat. This is despite the fact that GPS holds Kabong, Krian and Kalaka which are the three State seats that make up Saratok parliamentary constituency.

It appeared that the people-centric policies of GPS chairman Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg who is also Sarawak Premier, did not manage to convince the voters of Saratok to put their trust in GPS.

Meanwhile, PDP’s candidate Lidang Disen also failed to reclaim Mas Gading which surprised many as the incumbent Mordi Bimol of Democratic Action Party (DAP) was said to be “unreachable” and “missing” where a political pundit even claimed that there were sentiments of resentment among the locals towards his absence and the lack of development in the area.

The victory in Mas Gading by DAP perhaps can be seen as the continuation of the efforts seen in GE14 to put Barisan Nasional out of business. Failing to do so, many hoped to make another attempt as they truly wanted to get rid of this coalition who has difficulty in shrugging off the perception of being “corrupted” and “kleptocratic”.

Another reason perhaps was that, the same tide of change seen in GE14 had returned, though not in its full force as it did in the last election.

In the last few days of campaign, there was suddenly a surge of postings on social media urging young voters to act to effect change. The tremendous increase in young voters and their last minute decision to vote, perhaps has contributed to Mordi’s continued victory in Mas Gading.

Baram and Bintulu which are the second largest and fourth largest constituencies respectively in Malaysia all fall under PDP and which the party has guarded well for GPS.

For Bintulu, the seat was expected to be retained by its incumbent Dato Sri Tiong King Sing who has been extremely popular especially in the rural areas of the constituency. Even if Tiong were to lose in the urban areas, his support in the rural areas will save him.

Baram which consists of Telang Usan, Mulu and Marudi has been a stronghold of GPS because of the three hard-working and effective assemblymen of the three areas including Dennis Ngau, Datuk Gerawat Gala and Datuk Penguang Manggil.

Baram at one time was the bastion for the rural Opposition in Sarawak and one of the most likely seats to be flipped. However, since Datuk Anyi Ngau took over the seat for PDP in 2013, it has stuck with the party, despite the huge effort of Roland Engan who manages to keep the small flame of ‘reformasi’ still burning but not enough to effect massive change. — DayakDaily