KUCHING, 4 March 2009: Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) is expected to finalise its candidate for the Batang Ai state seat, which fell vacant following the death of its assemblyperson Datuk Dublin Unting Ingkot, in the next few days.
PRS president Datuk Seri Dr James Jemut Masing said several possible candidates have been identified and it was a matter of narrowing the list.
“After the party has decided on the candidate, we will submit the name to the state Barisan Nasional (BN) chair[person],” he told Bernama today.
On the Election Commission (EC)’s decision to hold nomination and polling day simultaneously with the Bukit Gantang and Bukit Selambau by-elections, Dr Masing said it would create a level playing field for any political party intending to contest in the by-election.
“It will purely be a local affair because peninsula-based parties will be busy with the other by-elections there,” he said.
Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) deputy-president Datuk Peter Nyarok Entrie said BN’s chances of winning the Batang Ai by-election looked good despite claims that the opposition could make inroads in the rural Sarawak seat.
“BN can win the Batang Ai seat but we need to work hard and on the part of SPDP, we pledge to give our fullest support together with the other BN component parties, Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) and the Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP), to ensure PRS wins with a thumping majority,” Nyarok, who is also assistant minister of agriculture, said.
PBB secretary-general, who is also BN secretary-general, Dr Stephen Rundi Itom said all the BN component parties were ready to face the by-election and did not see the simultaneous nomination and polling days as a big problem to BN’s election machinery.
Dublin, 55, who was state assistant agriculture and sports minister, died on 24 Feb after failing to recover from a coma following a stroke in May last year.
In the May 2006 state election, Dublin, who was PRS vice-president, defeated Nicholas Bawin Anggat who contested under the Sarawak National Party (SNAP) ticket with an 806-vote majority. — Bernama