GPS clearing first hurdle by identifying Iskandar as Jepak’s candidate whom warlords pledge support

Dr Rundi interviewed by DayakDaily after State level Jepak By-election Ordination Committee Meeting held at a local hotel in Bintulu on Thursday evening (Oct 19, 2023).

By Lian Cheng

BINTULU, Oct 20: Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) candidate for Jepak, Iskandar Turkee, is the candidate accepted by all, thus removing the initial challenge the coalition has to face.

According to State-level Jepak By-election Coordination Committee deputy director Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi, several names were identified in the beginning. Following scrutiny and assessment from enforcement agencies such as the Malaysia Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and the Malaysia Department of Insolvency, Iskandar has been chosen by GPS’s top leadership.

“You can’t put it that way. We chose the one who is clean, neutral, and has no conflicts with the groups; this candidate apparently is acceptable to everyone.

“Top leadership listened to what the grassroots wanted. This is the candidate they want.

“We can call that a challenge initially, but now it is no longer a challenge. That is an acceptable candidate by everyone.

“They (influential local leaders) have come forward and showed their support during the announcement (of the unveiling of candidacy). In their own words, they said they will give full support,” Dr Rundi told DayakDaily after holding a State-level Jepak By-election Ordination Committee Meeting at a local hotel on Thursday evening.

He was responding to whether the various influential leaders or warlords in the Jepak constituency, who were keen to stand as a candidate, would pose a challenge to GPS in this by-election.

On the Iban, who made up about 35 per cent of the total voters, Dr Rundi, who is also Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) senior vice president, foresaw their support for the candidate.

He said there might be some discontentment among the Iban voters, but similarly, the issue was solved following the identification of Iskandar as Jepak candidate.

According to the latest electoral roll, Jepak has 22,804 registered voters.

Of the total voters, 54 per cent are Malays/Melanau, followed by Ibans, who comprise 35 per cent, the Chinese with six per cent, and the remaining five per cent comprising Bidayuh, Orang Ulu, and others.

Dr Rundi said PBB will work hard to ensure its machinery is in tip-top condition and win big in the Jepak by-election, which has been set to poll on Nov 2, and nomination on Oct 21.

Apart from that, it is also PBB’s determination to ensure that the late Jepak assemblyman Datuk Talib Zulpilip’s legacy — Jepak being a PBB stronghold—is maintained and strengthened. — DayakDaily