By Peter Sibon
KUCHING, Dec 30: Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) president Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing last night endorsed former Ba’Kelalan assemblyman Datuk Nelson Balang Rining as the party’s choice to wrest back the seat from Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR)’s Baru Bian.
However, he challenged Balang to start moving on the ground to ensure victory.
“To me, no problem, but he must start moving now,” Tiong said at `PDP Media Nite’ at a local restaurant here.
The beaming Balang, who was seated with him, smiled widely and said it would be a daunting task to wrest back the seat from the state PKR chief, who is also Selangau MP and Works Minister.
Later, when interviewed, Balang said he had actually gone to the ground quietly.
“Ba’kelalan has over 200 villages, and I still have diehard supporters whom I can count on. But definitely, there are villages which are not worth trying because they are now diehard supporters of PKR,” he confessed.
But overall, he is optimistic that this time around he can turn the result around for his party and Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) on the basis that he had beaten Baru twice — in the 2004 by-election and in the 2006 state election.
Meanwhile, Tiong reiterated that his party would demand its three seats that were taken away by fellow GPS component Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB).
“I have spoken before, and we will stick with that decision,” he said.
A senior PDP leader, who requested anonymity, said the party had already identified its candidates for Batu Danau, Bekenu and Pakan.
The three seats are now being held by Paulus Palu Gumbang, Rosey Yunus and Tan Sri William Mawan Ikom, respectively.
PDP currently has only three assemblymen, namely Dato Henry Harry Jinep in Tasik Biru, Datu Dr Penguang Manggil (Marudi) and Roland Duat (Meluan). — DayakDaily