Whispers grow louder over Uggah’s potential successor in Betong

A photograph taken at a recent function at Kampung Pelandok, Paku has set tongues a-wagging over the question of who will succeed Uggah in Betong. Chuat (centre) gave way to pave way for Uggah's return to the state cabinet, and there are rumours he will be nominated to stand for the seat in GE14.

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KUCHING: Who will replace Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah in his Betong parliamentary seat?

With the understanding that a single person shouldn’t hold both parliament and state assembly seats, the parliamentary seat of Betong is wide open for contest and of course, speculation.

Stating that he would like to focus on his responsibilities as Deputy Chief Minister in May 2017, Uggah has made it very clear that he would give up the Betong seat.

His announcement was confirmed by state Barisan Nasional chairman Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg who is also the Chief Minister in August.

With confirmation of the top state BN brass, there is no doubt that Uggah will be replaced. The question now is who will be the BN candidate for Betong.

Rumours have it that it could be Robert Lawson Chuat, who had previously given way to pave the way for Uggah’s return to the state cabinet without making a fuss.

Lawson defended the Bukit Saban seat for Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) in the 2011 state election with a majority of 2,774 votes. He was later appointed Assistant Welfare Minister. Lawson was not fielded as the Bukit Saban candidate in the 2016 state election and he stepped away from the spotlight gracefully.

At that time, rumours that he would take over Uggah’s parliamentary seat for the sacrifice he made in making way for the return of Uggah, who is also PBB Deputy President, to state politics were already making the rounds.

Speculation however, remains speculation. To every story, there are two sides.

Another group of people are equally confident that Chuat may not necessarily be keen to return to the political arena as other kids on the block.

In his own right, Chuat is a successful businessman and at 58, has reached the retirement age by Malaysian standards. As a director of an established and renowned construction company, and once to be rumoured as part beneficiary of thousands of hectares of plantation land in Betong and Simanggang, some people think Chuat can do without all the stress of life as a politician under glaring public scrutiny.

While it is not yet confirmed if Chuat is poised to be the one filling Uggah’s vacated parliamentarian seat, one cannot help but wonder when the particular photo above started circulating on social media.

As wise men say, a picture speaks a thousand words. Judging from this photograph taken at a recent function at Kampung Pelandok, Paku, Chuat has certainly be given the honour befitting of a Yang Berhormat (elected representative), together with his ‘band of brothers’.

Easily attended by nearly one thousand, with GE14 so near, one would have easily mistaken the event as the switching on of BN election machinery.

A longhouse gathering at Betong which Chuat attended.

While still waiting for official endorsement for Betong’s candidacy, you and I can only wonder why the secrecy to the obvious.