BN Does Well In Northern Sarawak
By Hamdan Ismail
MIRI, March 10 (Bernama) -- The message is clear from the people in northern Sarawak, that the majority of them want to keep things as they are. This message was clearly sent via their votes where all the six parliamentary constituencies in this part of the State were won by the Barisan Nasional (BN).
Leading the jubilation was Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) treasurer-general Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing, who convincingly defended his Bintulu seat by securing almost 73 percent of the votes cast in the constituency on Saturday. He polled 23,628 out of the 32,579 votes cast while his opponent, DAP's newcomer Lim Su Kien only managed 8,663 votes.
Local political pundits told Bernama that the massive 14,965-vote majority victory, which was also the highest margin in the state, was a clear indication that the people wanted the outspoken Tiong to continue doing his job.
The BN's win in Bintulu was not unexpected as its electorate's confidence in the coalition was strong while Tiong "burnt the midnight oil" in campaigning to canvass support.
For the defeated Lim, who joined the DAP just about a year ago, it was not a bitter loss as she had commanded a substantial amount of votes despite being a new face in the political arena. For the Sibuti parliamentary constituency, BN's new face Ahmad Lai Bujang (PBB) deserves a pat on the back for being able to secure an upset, as the PKR's Michael Teo Yu Keng was slated as the favourite for the seat.
He won the seat by a 3,648-majority polling 8,238 votes against' Teo's 4,590 votes.
A PBB (Parti Pesaka Bumiputra Bersatu) member in Sibuti, Abdul Razak Joni said Ahmad's victory was a reflection of the Sibuti people's aspiration that development in the new constituency be uninterrupted by political changes.
"For the people here, the election was an opportunity for them to strengthen their stand. Much development has taken place here and they do not want it to stop," he said.
In Miri, incumbent Datuk Peter Chin Fah Kui of SUPP successfully retained his seat for the sixth consecutive term after defeating DAP's Fong Pau Teck by a majority of 5,216. The final score was 19,345 votes for Chin while Fong polled 14,138. Chin, who is also the Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister and the Miri MP since 1986, had expected this year's election to be tougher following the creation of the Sibuti constituency which had been part of the Miri constituency before the 2006 election boundary redelineation exercise.
"The 1986 election was a challenging time for me as that was the first time I stood as a candidate. I think this year, they (DAP) posed a greater challenge by playing up issues that they believed could attract voters, especially Chinese voters in Miri," he said.
He said that the majority he attained was "quite good" and dedicated the victory to the close cooperation among members of BN component parties here.
In Baram, the BN incumbent Datuk Jacob Dungau Sagan took the seat for the fourth time with a convincing 4,044 majority after he clinched 7,996 votes against independent candidate Kebing Wan's 3,952. Baram had been reported to be a "grey area".
In Lawas, the incumbent BN candidate Henry Sum Agong of PBB accomplished a great victory by polling 8,526 votes to beat PKR's Japar Suyut who only managed to secure 734 votes and lost his deposit. Local political observers said that Henry's success in securing 91 per cent of the votes showed that communal politics played up by the opposition during campaigning were no longer welcome. This constituency comprises largely of the Malay/Melanau community while Henry is a Lun Bawang, one of the minority ethnic groups in Sarawak.
The situation, however, was different in the neighbouring constituency of Limbang where BN's newcomer Hasbi Habibollah only managed to scrape through beating PKR's Dr. Lau Liak Koi by a small majority of 676 votes. Hasbi polled 6,427 votes while Dr. Lau managed 5,751 votes.
Limbang is one of the three new parliamentary constituencies in Sarawak and political observers there attributed the slim victory to the lower acceptance among non-Malay voters for the BN candidate while Dr. Lau was quite a well-known medical specialist who ran a private clinic in the constituency.
Despite this, one of the observers told Bernama that Hasbi, an engineer by profession, would have ample time to prove his ability to serve the constituents and be eventually accepted by more people there.