KUCHING, March 4 — Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) is expected to finalise its candidate for the Batang Ai state seat, which fell vacant following the death of its assemblyman, Datuk Dublin Unting Ingkot, in the next few days.
PRS president Datuk Seri Dr James Jemut Masing said at the moment several possible candidates had been identified and it was a matter of narrowing down the list to enable the party to make decision.
“After the party has decided on the candidate, we will submit the name to the state Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman,” he told Bernama, here today.
On the Election Commission’s (EC) decision to hold nomination and polling day, if there is a contest, 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 and bright despite claims that the opposition could make an inroad in the rural seat in Sarawak.
“BN can win 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), 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 secterary-general, who is also BN secterary-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 election machinery.
Dublin, 55, who was state Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Sports, died on Feb 24 after failing to recover from a coma at the Normah Specialist Medical Centre (NSMC), where he was warded after a stroke since May 22 last year.
In the May 2006 state election, Dublin who was PRS vice-president defeated Nicholas who then contested under of the Sarawak National Party (SNAP) ticket with a 806-vote majority. — Bernama
PRS to finalise Batang Ai candidate within the week