By Nur Ashikin Louis
KUCHING, Nov 5: Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) chairman Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg avoided answering the question whether they have finalised their list of candidates for the coming State polls.
At a press conference held at Wisma Bapa Malaysia in Kuching today, a reporter asked whether Abang Johari had identified the candidates to which he simply replied, “You see all our faces here.”
Seated together with Abang Johari who is Satok incumbent at the venue were Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) deputy presidents Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas and Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan who are Bukit Saban and Bukit Sari incumbents respectively, Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) president-cum-Batu Kawah incumbent Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian, Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) president-cum-Bintulu Member of Parliament Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing and Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) deputy president Datuk Joseph Salang Gandum.
Responding to another reporter’s query on the allocation of seats among GPS, Abang Johari said there was no rush in announcing it.
“Wait first. (The State Legislative Assembly) had just been dissolved. We don’t have to rush.
“Some people say don’t rush, so we don’t rush,” he added.
It is speculated that Abang Johari refused to answer the question in view of the present situation and it is understandable that GPS has yet to come out with its full candidate list.
The first reason was due to the Baleh candidacy following the recent passing of its incumbent-cum-PRS president Tan Sri James Jemut Masing.
The late Masing, 72, had passed away around 7.05am on Oct 31, 2021 at Normah Sarawak Medical Centre, Kuching due to heart complications.
It is also speculated that Abang Johari must first resolve the dilemma on seats arrangement involving PDP.
PDP traditionally had been allocated eight seats with only three in its bag presently. They are Tasik Biru held by Datuk Henry Harry Jinep, Meluan (Rolland Duat Jubin) and Marudi (Datuk Dr Penguang Manggil).
Its three traditional seats that have been absorbed into PBB are Batu Danau with its incumbent being Paulus Palu Gumbang, Bekenu (Datuk Rosey Yunus) and Pakan (Tan Sri William Mawan Ikom).
The other two seats are taken by the Opposition namely Ba’kelalan with its incumbent being Baru Bian of Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) while Krian is held by Datuk Ali Biju of Parti Pribumi Bumiputera Bersatu (Bersatu).
Another possible dispute for the seat allocation in GPS is overlapping claims over Mambong seat which is held by Datuk Dr Jerip Susil.
Dr Jerip’s candidacy is a controversial issue after he left SUPP, under which he won the Mambong seat, to defend the seat as a Barisan Nasional (BN) direct candidate in the last election.
After winning, he joined United People’s Party (UPP), which later changed its name to Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB).
However, he left PSB to join PBB in 2019. This resulted in Mambong, which is traditionally a SUPP seat, being held by PBB. — DayakDaily