GE15: Will Selangau incumbent Baru Bian switch to Lawas?

Wong (front row, third right) during PSB's first Central Committee meeting today (Sept 5, 2022).

SIBU, Sept 5: Baru Bian may switch to contest in Lawas instead of defending his Selangau parliamentary seat in the upcoming 15th General Election (GE15).

Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) president Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh hinted today that Baru is among the five PSB leaders identified as candidates to represent the party in GE15.

“PSB will contest in 10 to 12 seats at the next general election. We have announced the candidates for five seats so far. The rest will be done in time to come.

“Baru will defend his Selangau seat, or he may move to Lawas, which is part of the Ba’kelalan State constituency,” he said during a press conference after PSB’s first Central Committee meeting today.

Baru secured his maiden parliamentary election win in the 2018 general election when he took the Selangau seat, which was a stronghold of Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS). with a majority of 486 votes. He garnered 11,228 votes against Rita Insol of Barisan Nasional (BN), who managed 10,742 votes.

The remaining four candidates are Dr Johnical Rayong Ngipa for Lubok Antu, Wilson Entabang (Sri Aman), former Miri mayor Datuk Lawrence Lai (Miri), and Wong himself for the Sibu seat.

“We will contest in all the seats we believe we can win. However, further discussion will be held with other Sarawak-based parties on the matter (seat allocation),” Wong explained.

This came as it appears that seat negotiations between PSB and Democratic Action Party (DAP) for the coming general election have reached a deadlock following DAP’s insistence that incumbent seats are non-negotiable.

“DAP is saying that they must retain all their incumbent seats. In other words, all the urban seats are out for us. They said that ‘you (PSB) could go to the rural areas’, which means we have to fight in the Dayak seats.

“There is not even one urban seat for us (PSB). As such, we cannot carry on (the discussions), he said.

With no possible cooperation between the two parties for GE15, Wong pointed out that PSB has turned to talks with local-based parties, which include Parti Bumi Kenyalang (PBK), Parti Sedar Rakyat Sarawak (Sedar), Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS), and Sarawak People’s Aspiration Party (Aspirasi).

“Whenever possible, we hope to form a united front. If we disagree on certain things, we will have to overcome them as we would like to form a united front so it would become a greater force to be reckoned with,” he added.

Touching on their meeting today, Wong, also Bawang Assan assemblyman, said it was to prepare for the upcoming GE15.

“We discussed the seats we are going to contest in, on issues that are important to be highlighted for the parliamentary election which may be reflected in our manifesto as well as strategies to move forward and so on,” he said. — DayakDaily