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Iban magazine publisher joins Batang Ai race

SIBU, 20 March 2009: The publisher of a well-known Iban cultural, educational and entertainment magazine and who has his own portal, is set to join the race for the Batang Ai state by-election on 7 April.

Johnny Chuat, 38, a journalism and communications graduate from Carleton University, Canada, and who works for an oil and gas company, said the final confirmation will be on nomination day, which is 29 March, in Lubok Antu.

Chuat, a local from Rh Councillor Mujah, Nanga Menyebat, Lemanak, a constituency with a majority of Iban voters, has started ground work preparations and is confident of a good showing.

“I am self-funded with no sponsors and I am all resolved to fight. I have nothing to fear or worry. I am confident of garnering at least 90% of the votes from Lemanak voters, who [make up] about 3,000 of the 8,006 registered voters in Batang Ai. They are my relatives as well,” he told Bernama when contacted.

He said his confidence came from the fact that this was the first time someone from Lemanak was contesting in an election.

Chuat is also confident of capturing votes from others in the constituency, especially the fence-sitters and those who are disillusioned with either Barisan Nasional (BN) or Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR).

“I am offering myself as the alternative choice,” said Chuat, who remains unfazed despite facing the prospect of a tough battle against the might and logistics of the BN and the organisation of PKR.

“BN may be fielding generally a very acceptable candidate in Malcolm Mussem Lamoh while PKR may field veteran Nicholas Bawin (Lubok Antu branch chairperson) or former four-term parliamentarian Jawah Gerang, but I have my own strategy and would not disclose it just yet.”

The publisher said over the past 10 years, he had been organising many motivation talks and offered financial assistance to varsity-bound students from poor families, and believed that those who had graduated would still remember such deeds. — Bernama

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