Eight on GPS’ Jepak candidate list? Rumoured candidates include DUN Speaker’s son, PBB Jepak strongmen, BDA deputy chairman

From top right, clockwise: Pandi, Daud, Ali and Haidar.

By Lian Cheng

KUCHING, Sept 26: Following the announcement of dates for the Jepak by-election nomination and polls which fall on Oct 21 and Nov 4 respectively, the next question on everybody’s mind now is who is the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) candidate from Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB)?

Rumours have been rife that there are presently eight names brought to the attention of PBB’s top leadership. Among them, some are feasible as candidates while others can only be described as wannabes whose chances are as good as squeezing water from a stone.

This of course is not surprising considering that Jepak is a PBB stronghold. It is said that whoever is fielded by PBB for this by-election, regardless of who he is, is certain to be be crowned the king of the hill. With such strong support on the ground, it is understandable that those with just an inkling of the slightest chance of being chosen, will try to lobby for the seat.

Among the eight mentioned and whose names have been brought up are Ali Asfia, the son of the current Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) Speaker Tan Sri Mohamad Asfia Awang Nassar; PBB Jepak deputy chairman Datuk Pengiran Daud Pengiran Putera; PBB Tanjung Batu chairman Datuk Haidar Khan Asghar, who is also Bintulu Development Authority deputy chairman and a PBB Supreme Council member; former PBB Jepak deputy chairman and former Jepak Holdings managing director Saidi Abang Samsuddin and former PBB Supreme Council member Pandi Suhaili.

Pandi, 58, has been a PBB man for over 30 years, serving as deputy youth chief of its Jepak branch before becoming a member of the PBB Supreme Council.

When contacted, he said he was not surprised that his name was mentioned as a possible candidate for this upcoming Jepak by-election as it happens in every election.

He however, stressed that he is a party man who follows party directives, who is ready to serve when chosen and who is willing to support the chosen candidate, should the party decide that there is a more suitable candidate.

“As a party man, a loyal party man, I always choose to obey party instructions from the top, from the leaders, especially from the president.

“All this while, my name has been mentioned in almost every election as reserve candidate and so on. I am used to it and not too anxious about it.

“My stand is very easy. As a party man, I serve the party. LIf the leaders think they need me, I will do my job. I will serve of course.

“If they don’t choose me, I am still a party man, I am still a loyal party man. I am still a party man and I will still fully support the party. Of course, we will support the chosen candidate,” said Pandi who is the PBB Kampung Masjid sub-branch chief. — DayakDaily