Stampin stays red as Chong emerges triumphant

Chong is hoisted on the shoulders of his jubilant supporters at the tally centre.

KUCHING, May 9: The real ‘king’ in Stampin is Democratic Action Party (DAP) candidate Chong Chieng Jen as the state DAP chairman emerged victorious in the high profile seat with a huge majority of 14,221 votes.

Dubbed as the ‘clash of titans’ and ‘clash of the kings’ in a battle also known as the ‘mother of all elections’ in Sarawak, some 66,000 Stampin constituents who witnessed many promises and pledges from both Pakatan Harapan and Barisan Nasional over the past 11 days had clearly made their choice.

Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) candidate and party president Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian, the most winnable candidate for the task from Barisan Nasional (BN), performed miserably with only 18,839 votes. The 52-year-old cardiologist was not present at the tally centre at Padawan Municipal Council when the official result was announced by the returning officer at 9.50pm.

Chong had garnered a total of 33,060 votes. There were 408 spoilt votes.

Chong arrived at the centre around 9.15pm, walking towards the building holding the hand of his wife Grace Tan, accompanied by his parents and party supporters.

Speaking to reporters in a voice made coarse after nights of ‘ceramah’, Chong said a press conference will be held at the party’s headquarters at 10pm with all Pakatan Harapan (PH) elected representatives including Willie Mongie (Puncak Borneo) and Mordi Bimol (Mas Gading).

Chong thanked his supporters and volunteers especially those who came back to Sarawak to vote in this election which saw the best performance of Opposition alliance.

“Happy is an understatement.

“People say there is no excitement, no enthusiasm in Sarawak but the result has proven otherwise. The undercurrent is earth-shaking,” he told reporters.

Compared to GE13, the majority has decreased, but mainly due to the carving out of the Batu Lintang state seat. The voter turnout was 79.3 per cent.

Chong, who is also state PH chairman and three-term Bandar Kuching MP, left his safe Bandar Kuching parliamentary seat for Stampin while Sim resigned as a senator to contest in Stampin. Sim is also state Local Government and Housing Minister.

Both are also state assemblyman — Chong is the two-term elected representative for Kota Sentosa while Sim won Batu Kawah in the 2016 state election. Both state constituencies fall under Stampin.

Another state constituency under Stampin is the newly created Batu Kitang state seat in the 2016-re-delianeation exercise which was presented by SUPP’s Lo Khere Chiang, who is also Padawan Municipal Council chairman.

Another state seat, Batu Lintang, which has some 28,000 Chinese voters, was carved out and placed under Bandar Kuching. The voters under Stampin had thus decreased from some 84,000 in GE13 to 66,220 now, in which 64 per cent (42,521) are Chinese, followed by 18 per cent (12,240) Dayak, and 16 per cent (10,706) Malays and others.

The seat, which has been a key battleground for SUPP and DAP since 1978, had 4,299 early voters and 1,000 postal voters.

In GE13, veteran politician Datuk Yong Khoon Seng, who held Stampin for three terms, was upset by DAP greenhorn Julian Tan who beat him with a majority of 18,670 votes. — DayakDaily