By Lian Cheng
KUCHING, Oct 27: Who will represent Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) in the Mambong seat in the coming Sarawak election?
This was the question posed to GPS chairman Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg by the media at the Deepavali Open House of prominent lawyer Shankar Ram Asnani today.
Abang Johari responded by saying “When is the election?”
However, the media pressed further: since Mambong assemblyman Datuk Dr Jerip Susil has joined Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB), will he stand in Mambong, a seat traditionally allocated to Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) to contest?
To that question, Abang Johari said, “I don’t know. We just took in Dr Jerip, that is all.”
When the media continued to pursue the matter, asking whether that was because GPS has yet to make a decision on who would be standing for Mambong seat, Abang Johari agreed.
“I don’t know. How can you talk about the candidate when we don’t know when is the election?” he said.
When the media tried to ask the chief minister aboutrumours that PBB will offer SUPP another seat in exchange for Mambong seat, Abang Johari made clear that he refused to respond to rumours and put a stop to the impromptu interview.
The question of “ownership” of Mambong seat is now the hottest topic in town after Mambong assemblyman Dr Jerip was admitted into PBB.
Within the state government coalition, Mambong seat has traditionally been allocated to SUPP, since the seat was created.
Dr Jerip had held the seat for SUPP until he left the party to join United People’s Party (UPP), a splinter party of SUPP in 2014.
UPP later changed its name to Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) and Dr Jerip was appointed as the party’s deputy president.
In July this year, Dr Jerip revealed he was leaving PSB.
At the time, there were already rumours circulating that he would join PBB.
True enough, on Thursday, PBB held a press conference, announcing that the party accepted the application of the Mambong representative.
Following that announcement, another question has popped up: who should stand in Mambong — SUPP or PBB — in the upcoming state election which must be called by 2021?