Selangau BN candidate has visited 80 per cent of constituency

Local residents listen to Rita speaking during her visit to Rumah Julia Awal, Selangau.

SELANGAU, May 4: Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) candidate for Selangau Rita Insol and the PRS campaign machinery have visited about 80 per cent of the constituency.

She said she started to move on the ground to meet constituents 14 months ago.

This is quite an achievement because Selangau is a big constituency with as many as 1,100 longhouses and 30,103 eligible voters.

“When I finish my first round, I will make a second round only to those areas which we think are the grey areas. We know which areas are the grey areas,” she told DayakDaily at Rumah Julia Awal here today.

Although a new face, Rita appears to be very confident and firm. She is also surprisingly eloquent and has the ability to woo the crowds.

In front of an audience of about 300 in Rumah Julia, she explained that although she was born in Batu Niah, her grandparents were actually from Kakus.

“Then I married my husband who is from Tamin. My longhouse is Rumah Bansa, Dijih, Selangau. I believe I am a local here,” said Rita, rebutting a statement by her opponent, Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Selangau candidate Baru Bian who said that she was not a local but an outsider born in Batu Niah.

Rita also pointed out that Baru, as the Ba’Kelalan assemblyman as well as a lawyer, would not have time to serve the people of Selangau, especially when Selangau is such a big area, with longhouses quite far apart from each other.

She told the longhouse folk present that choosing her would mean more development funds for the constituency of Selangau.

“We have done the calculations that if I were to be elected, with two state assemblymen (Datuk John Sikie of Kakus and Christopher Gira of Tamin), we could bring about as much as RM155 million in development funds for every five years,” she said.

There are now many women being chosen as longhouse chiefs, unlike before when the positions were dominated by men.

Meanwhile, Rita also believed that Selangau area is ready to vote for a female candidate, despite the Iban being traditionally a male-centric community.

Times have changed and the Iban community is also evolving with it.

“You see here, among the 45 longhouse chiefs, more than 10 of them are women.”

She said it was quite a common sight now to have women chosen to be longhouse chiefs for practical reasons.

“The men have to go to work and don’t stay in the longhouse most of the time. Some of them even work outstation.

“The trend now is since the women folk will be staying in the longhouse, why not let them be the longhouse chiefs?” — DayakDaily