Masing: At least three opposition seats within state BN’s grasp

Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing

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KUCHING: Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing is confident that the state Barisan Nasional (BN) can recapture three seats from the opposition coalition.

These seats are all Chinese urban seats held by Democratic Action Party (DAP).

He said his analysis is based on the results of the 2016 state election and the fact that ‘Adenan Fever’ is still effective.

“The basis is on (the results) of the 2016 state election. That is the basis why we can reclaim them (the lost seats).

“If you look at the last election that we had, (the results of the election have shown) that we got back some of the seats we lost before.

“On that basis, we can reclaim back at least two to three seats which used to be with DAP,” Masing told a media conference today after presenting minor rural project (MRP) funds to 46 NGOs and associations.

In the 2013 general election, the state BN lost six seats, which are all urban Chinese majority seats, namely Bandar Kuching, Stampin, Sarikei, Lanang, Sibu and Miri.

State BN secretary-general Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom had a week ago claimed that the ruling coalition would be able to wrestle back four seats but refused to disclose which were the mysterious four seats.

However, as all seats lost by the state BN are Chinese majority seats, questions were posed to state DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen, whether DAP was confident to defend all its parliamentary seats.

Instead of claiming confidence in defending all its seats, Chong who is also Bandar Kuching MP and Kota Sentosa assemblyman said the opposition coalition Pakatan Harapan Sarawak (PH Sarawak) was not only confident in retaining all its six seats, it was also confident of taking four more seats from the ruling coalition.

Contrary to Chong’s claims that there was no more ‘Adenan Effect’ to help the state BN, Masing who is also Infrastructure Development and Transportation Minister said ‘Adenan fever’ was still around.

“The Adenan factor (goodwill factor attributed to the promises, policies and accomplishments of late Chief Minister Pehin Sri Adenan Satem) is still there provided that we keep what we have promised. Our Chief Minister (Datuk Patinggi) Abang Johari (Tun Openg) has followed through on what Adenan had promised and the fever still carries on.

“The understanding is still there; we haven’t changed anything so far,” said Masing.

On the claim made by Chong of capturing four additional rural and semi-urban seats, Masing disagreed.

“Harapan (PH Sarawak) can claim it. I think anybody can claim but I don’t think it is a realistic claim. I don’t think DAP or Harapan can reclaim four more seats. I don’t think they can.

“I don’t think the opposition can reclaim Dayak areas or rural seats. I believe we can maintain and maybe (deliver) an increase of three more (seats) in semi-urban seats,” said Masing.