Heavyweights Salang and Sng clash in Iban-majority Julau, can underdogs prevail?

From left: Elly, Sng, Salang and Susan at the nomination centre.

By Ling Hui

JULAU, Nov 5: Will 37-year-old Iban businesswoman Susan George or local Julau boy Elly Lawai Ngalai be able to spring a surprise in Iban-majority P209 Julau, against two well-known heavyweights Datuk Larry Sng and Datuk Joseph Salang Gandum?

On polling day this Nov 19, P209 Julau voters will be choosing their federal representatives from among four candidates, namely incumbent MP Sng (Parti Bangsa Malaysia), Datuk Joseph Salang (Gabungan Parti Sarawak-Parti Rakyat Sarawak), Susan from Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS), and independent candidate Elly.

The seat’s final candidate list was announced by returning officer Wee Teck Min at the old Julau district office building at 12.30pm here today, with none disqualified.

As early as 8.01am, Elly arrived at the nomination centre, accompanied by his proposer Munor Gan and seconder Daniel Udin.

Later at 8.31am, Susan arrived with her proposer Pasang Bubong and seconder Dominic Chanddai, and at 8.46am, Sng arrived with his proposer George Robin and seconder Baca Maggie in eye-catching traditional attire.

The last candidate to arrive was Salang at 8.55am with his proposer Morris Nyanong and seconder Jantan Uchong. Prior to that, Salang going around the town with his group of GPS supporters.

This was not the first time standing for election for Elly, a 55-year-old businessman from Kampung Sungai Stras, who previously contested in the Meluan state seat during the 2016 and 2021 State elections as an independent and under Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB), respectively.

PBDS Women chief Susan is a newcomer in Julau while the 15th General Election (GE15) marks the second time Sng and Salang have crossed swords for the federal seat, but their second encounter will be their first time contesting as party presidents.

Following the passing of its president Tan Sri James Jemut Masing in Oct 2021, PRS reached a consensus in April this year, naming then deputy president Salang as its new president.

Meanwhile, Sng who quit Sarawak Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) and later rejoined Sarawak Workers Party (SWP), which was renamed as PBM, was elected as its president in January this year.

Both men first clashed in the 2018 General Election when Sng contested as an independent candidate while Salang was on a Barisan Nasional (BN) ticket.

Salang garnered 8,174 votes against Sng’s 10,105 votes, resulting in Sng wresting Julau from four-term MP Salang with a majority of 1,931 votes.

While all eyes are on the Sng-Salang ‘rematch’, Susan who has her eyes set on being the first Dayak woman in Parliament, may or may not drop a bombshell in Julau. — DayakDaily