Taib’s ‘ruling’ upsets hardworking once-defeated candidates

Sarawak United Peoples’ Party president George Chan may have a revolt on his hands if he kowtows to Chief Minister Taib Mahmud’s latest ruling on ‘recycled’ and ‘defeated’ candidates.

By Joseph Tawie, Free Malaysia Today

KUCHING: Sarawak Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman Taib Mahmud’s stand that the coalition will not field “defeated” candidates has left at least two potential representatives upset.

Candidates for Kota Sentosa, Alfred Yap Chin Loi, and Ngemeh’s Alexander Vincent are dismayed.

Last year, Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) president George Chan had said Yap will be fielded again in the constituency.

Yap had, in the 2006 state election, lost to DAP secretary Chong Chieng Jen by 531 votes.

Since then, Yap has returned to working the ground and, coupled with Chan’s commitment to field him again, was confident of redeeming the seat for SUPP.

Yap, a former assistant minister, had also formed his own committee which has been working doubly hard to ensure victory despite the fact that the electorate of 18,934 in 2006 had now increased by 30% to more than 25,000 voters.

Contacted yesterday on Taib’s new ruling, Yap said: “Contact my boss, contact my boss. You should get an answer from him.

“I cannot comment. You better contact my boss (George Chan).”

Aides disappointed

Yap’s close aides, who are equally disappointed, have threatened to boycott the election or even vote for the opposition.

“We have been working very hard since the last election, especially by recruiting more members as well as registering more voters.

“There is every chance we can wrest the seat from the DAP by allowing Yap to be fielded again.

“With more than 6,000 new voters in the constituency, Yap’s confidence is very high,” they said.

Meanwhile, Vincent, who has been tipped by Party Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president James Masing to contest in Ngemeh is keeping silent.

In the 2006 polls, Vincent lost to Gabriel Adit by 549 votes in a three-cornered fight. The other candidate was Richard Lias of Sarawak National Party (SNAP).

Like Yap, Vincent too has been actively moving in the constituency since the last election.

His chance of winning this time around has been described as “very good” provided there is full cooperation from all BN members.

Still angry

Yesterday, Masing said that Vincent had a good chance in Ngemeh if there was “no sabotage”’ He was referring to PRS’ defeat in Ngemeh in 2006 and allegations that saboteurs were from ally Sarawak Progressive Democratuc Party (SPDP).

“I don’t wish to interpret too much on chief minister’s speech.