Chong: No choice but to hold two positions

KUCHING, Dec 19: State DAP will follow Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu’s (PBB) move to screen their general election (GE14) candidates but they would not apply the same rule of prohibiting state assemblymen from becoming GE candidates.

“I have no choice but to hold two positions,” said state DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen, who is Kota Sentosa state assemblyman and Bandar Kuching MP.

“There are more consequences than benefits, and also political prosecution; not many people want to join the Opposition especially to come upfront,” he lamented.

Chong said the party had identified all its candidates for the upcoming polls, for which they will retain the status quo for seats with other opposition parties as in the last GE – PKR with 15, DAP with 10 and Amanah with six.

Chong is expected to defend his Bandar Kuching seat, which he had won with over 19,000 majority.

When asked on PBB’s announcement that the party would not field state assemblymen as parliament election candidates, Chong said that it was something which DAP could not afford to follow.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg had said that the screening was important to ensure that the candidates selected by state component parties possess a good and clean record to prevent unwanted situations from occurring later on.

The state BN chairman stressed that the coalition must not take this for granted, otherwise they might face another controversy much like the Pujut case where its assemblyman Dr Ting Tiong Choon was initially disqualified by the State Legislative Assembly for having dual citizenship in Australia and Malaysia before the decision was overruled by the Kuching High Court.

Though not a BN party, Chong said DAP had their internal screening process too, but the case on the Pujut issue was unavoidable as it is a grey area in law.

“Whether someone who had in the past obtained Australia citizenship and renounced it (or) will be disqualified as a elected assemblyman, we leave it to the court to decide,” Chong said.

Nevertheless, Chong said that Pujut assemblyman Dr Ting has lived up to expectation and serves the people diligently.

“He (Dr Ting) is hardworking and dedicated,” said Chong, adding that their screening focus is on performance, ability and willingness to serve.

The Court of Appeal has yet to fix a date to deliver its judgment on the fate of Dr Ting, on whether he can remain as a legally elected assemblyman. — DayakDaily