Political intrigues in Hulu Rajang
by Peter Sibon. Posted on August 2, 2012, Thursday
WHILE more and more voters in Hulu Rajang have accepted the fact that the BN will field a new candidate in the person of Wilson Ugak Kumbong, there are however, many who are still confused and continue to question that fact — for they still harbour hope that current MP Datuk Billy Abit Joo would be re-nominated.
Ugak’s nomination for this remote area which is as big as the whole state of Pahang was announced by PRS president Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing himself at a leader-meet-the people session at Rh Wong, Teluk Buing, Baleh, Kapit on July 4 to quell all speculations surrounding Billy’s insistence that he would be re-nominated yet again.
As such Masing had to state the stand of the party at that gathering because the community leaders have fed him with the information that there was great confusion on the ground as to who would represent PRS for the seat in the coming election.
Hulu Rajang has been held by Billy since 1990 and before that it was held by Datuk Justine Jinggut of SNAP.
To clear the air, Masing was compelled to announce that his private secretary’s name had indeed been submitted to the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak for endorsement.
However, Billy, the five-term MP has also continued to tell the people that he would be re-nominated by the top BN leadership, including the prime minister.
Now this is very intriguing: could the BN field two candidates for one seat? — Theoretically speaking it can as in many cases in the past where there would be one BN candidate and the other as an Independent-standing as a direct BN candidate. After all, in Billy’s case, he did stand as an independent candidate in 1990.
Billy’s insistence has annoyed Masing who described his stand as, ‘a defiance to party’s decision that has serious political implications,” Masing had said in his previous press statement.
Masing explained that the reason for dropping Billy from the list of candidates was that he had reached his political plateau.
He said that the party’s election nomination committee comprising the president, secretary general, women and youth chiefs felt that a younger man and a more winnable candidate should take over in Hulu Rajang.
Masing also said that the party would not take lightly to Billy’s insistence of being re-nominated as a candidate for the constituency. However, he added that the “party would not take action” against Billy “for the time being.”
Ugak, who has been Billy’s director of operations for his past five elections said the incumbent MP had promised him (Ugak) since 2004 that it would be his last election after serving his fourth term.
In the 2008 election, Ugak was again promised that he would replace Billy in the next general election.
Despite the promises, Billy insisted that he would contest again to defend the seat, and he based his confidence on the fact that now the role of selecting the BN candidates from any BN component party including PRS rests with the prime minister as chairman of the Barisan Nasional.
Billy on his part did not indicate whether he would resign from PRS or would contest as independent in the event that he was sacked from PRS.
And it is also not certain whether he would join Sarawak Workers’ Party (SWP) or Pakatan Rakyat, though there have been speculations that he might take that direction.
From outside PRS, Pelagus assemblyman George Lagong of SWP and a local lawyer Abun Sui of PKR are also eying the seat.
But assuming that Billy was nominated, the result of the election in the constituency would also depend much on the Ugak’s factor. He and his supporters can play the spoiler’s role since he had covered almost 90 per cent of the area.
Ugak is determined to take over Billy’s place and to take on the opposition with his large following especially from the Ibans in Baleh which made up almost 60 per cent of the total number of voters in Hulu Rajang. The other 40 per cent are the Orang Ulus in Belaga constituency which makes up the Hulu Rajang seat.
And given the fact that Ugak has told the people that he had got the endorsement from his party, Billy must now accept that it’s game over for him and his supporters.
So the least Billy should do now is to serve the people until parliament is dissolved as this is the most honourable thing for him to do instead of continuing to muddy the water which could only benefit the opposition.