CM keeping cards close to chest on candidates for Bidayuh seats

Abang Johari (seated centre) speaking to the media after officiating “Leader-meet-the-people Session” held at SJK Chung Hua Serian here today in the presence of (seated from left) Manyin, Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sr Dr James Jemut Masing, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hassan and Minister of Local Government and Housing. Standing from left are Bukit Semuja Assemblyman John Ilus, Kedup Assemblyman Martin Ben and State Secretary Datuk Amar Jaul Samion.

By Peter Sibon

SERIAN, Sept 23: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg today refused to comment on the candidates for the eight Bidayuh seats for the coming State election due by July next year.

“We will cross the bridge when we come to it,” he told a press conference after officiating a “Leader-meet-the-people Session” held at SJK Chung Hua Serian here today.

In the last general election held in May 2016, all the eight Bidayuh majority seats were won by Barisan Nasional which was later rebranded as Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS).

However, Opar assemblyman Datuk Ranum Mina, who previously ran as a BN-direct candidate had rejoined his former party, United People’s Party (UPP), a splinter of Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP), which was later rebranded as Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB).

Since last year, however, PSB has declared itself as a full-fledged opposition party which is keen to take over the state government.

“Opar was won under our (BN) platform. But since Opar is now in different (camp) we fight them and get back the seat,” Abang Johari stated.

“But when is the election? I also don’t know,” he said.

Apart from Opar, other Bidayuh majority seats are Tasik Biru, Serembu, Mambong, Tarat, Bukit Semuja, Kedup and Tebedu. Out of these seats, six are under Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) except for Tasik Biru which is under Progressive Democratic Party (PDP).

On a related issue, the Chief Minister said that he was glad that the Bidayuh community has remained united under GPS-led state government.

“When the Bidayuhs are united we are okay. We are delivering for the Bidayuh community. You just imagine investment coming to Serian. I never expect to see a hotel just now. We have the (State Development Coordination Committee on Project) meeting at the hotel just now…it’s like any other hotel.

“Meaning investment are coming to Serian. The moment you have the town centre come up, then you will have tourism attraction (product). Then you have the Bidayuh handicraft,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Bidayuh community’s most senior politician Datuk Seri Michael Manyin Jawong said the community would continue to support the present government as it had brought about development for the community.

“I think the Bidayuhs are grateful people. A lot of development has come to the Bidayuh areas. And I think the Bidayuh will vote for GPS because they are grateful people,” he stressed.

Manyin added that major projects are coming to Serian Division, including new infrastructure such as the new Serian Administrative Complex, the Serian Convention Centre.

An estimated RM400 million worth of projects are now under various stages of implementation in the division. —DayakDaily