Possible local council picks fuel fury of speculations

Choice. — DayakDaily.com file pic. //Photo: Pixabay

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By Lian Cheng

KUCHING, July 3: Following the expiry of the terms of 700 local council chairpersons, deputy chairpersons and councillors on June 30, and that the new list of appointment will only be finalised by the cabinet on July 11, speculations are rife as to who will lead some of the more prominent councils, especially the urban ones.

Even though the term of Kuching South City Council (MBKS) mayor Datuk James Chan and Kuching North City Hall (DBKU) Datuk Abang Abdul Wahap Abang Julai will only expire next month, MBKS, especially, is not exempted from rumours of intense lobbying.

The names that have been making the rounds to succeed Chan are incumbent Padawan Municipal Council chairman Lo Khere Chiang, who is also Batu Kitang assemblyman; the general manager of Saratim (a subsidiary of Sarawak Timber Industry Development Corporation) Datuk Patrick Liew, who is also Sarawak Lawn Tennis Association president; former MBKS councillor and prominent architect Philip Chang; Chairman of Federation of Boards of Management for SJK Chung Hua of Kuching, Samarahan and Serian Divisions Jonathan Chai as well as Kuching North City Hall Commissioner Dato Wee Hong Seng.

Lo, when contacted, however, did not show much interest in the MBKS mayor post.

“I would prefer to stay back in MPP as I can serve my constituents better here,” Lo reiterated to DayakDaily.

Lo might like to stay put to serve at MPP as the chairman, but it is not up to him. There is also a high possibility that others might be slated for the MPP chairmanship.

For quite some time already, there are rumours that Kota Samarahan Municipal Council (MPKS) chairman Datuk Peter Minos will be moved to MPP while MPP deputy chairman Datuk Ahmad Ibrahim may take over the leadership of MPKS.

Whether the state cabinet will take such a big step to make changes to these three big councils — MBKS, MPP and MPKS — as speculated remain to be seen.

As for DBKU, there has not been much speculation.

Abang Abdul Wahap, when contacted, said he would leave the new appointment of DBKU mayor to Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.

“Whether I will be re-appointed to the post or not, I will leave it to the cabinet to decide. What I can say is that I have been doing my level best, and I will continue to do so until my term expires,” he said matter-of-factly.

Meanwhile, seats on the Sibu Municipal Council (SMC) has been rumoured to be undergoing intense lobbying, especially after its chairman Datuk Tiong Thai King has stepped down gracefully upon expiry of his term.

At the initial stage, the names speculated to take over are Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) Bukit Assek branch chairman Dato Chieng Buong Toon and Rajang Port Authority chairman Clarence Ting Ing Horh, also an SUPP member.

Meanwhile, Temenggong Datuk Vincent Lau Lee Ming is also rumoured to be in the running. Lau is speculated to take over the chairmanship of SMC so that Tiong may assume the Temenggong post and play the part of an apolitical leader to lead the Chinese community in Sibu.

Lately, however, another name — Vincent Tang — has popped up. Those outside Sibu might not know the man, but Tang, like Ting, is a familiar name to those residing in Sibu. While Ting is SUPP Pelawan branch chairman, Tang is a former State Works Department (JKR) South Regional Office director, an engineer by profession and apolitical.

Unlike in Kuching and Sibu, the issue of who would succeed as new council chairman did not seem to stir any ripple in Miri. It is, thus, speculated that the incumbent Miri City Council (MCC) chairman, Adam Yii, will continue to lead the council.

There are 24 local councils in Sarawak. All the councils are under the Ministry of Local Government, except for DBKU and Bintulu Development Authority (BDA), which are directly under the Chief Minister’s Office. — DayakDaily