‘Mawan best candidate for Saratok’

MIRI: SPDP Saratok ex-secretary Banyi Beriak has described SPDP president Tan Sri William Mawan as “the best candidate” to replace Saratok MP Jelaing Mersat in Saratok in the impending 13th general election.

“Nobody should stop Mawan from contesting there if he so chose as he is the best candidate and most qualified one from the party,” he told The Borneo Post yesterday.

“He is the perfect one for Saratok.”

Banyi made this comment in relation to a story published by The Borneo Post on Monday quoting sources as saying that Mawan, who is also Minister of Social Development, should stand in Saratok to save it from falling into the hands of the opposition.

It is believed that the recent announcement by Krian assemblyman Ali Biju, from PKR, that he was eyeing Saratok had unnerved SPDP leaders.

But the grapevine also had it that should Mawan stand in Saratok, ‘giant killer Ali’, who defeated SPDP deputy president Datuk Peter Nyarok in Krian in the 2011 state election, might opt out.

But when the story broke, Ali dismissed the possibility of him opting out as unfounded, as the final decision of whether he would be fielded lay with the party leadership and support on the ground.

He blasted the rumours as a political ploy to confuse PKR supporters. Banyi said factors in Mawan’s favour included him being the party president, a native of Budu, having sizeable number of relatives in Saratok, and is financially sound.

“I am 100 per cent for him to stand there.”

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, Mawan did not dismiss outright the speculation. He merely uttered it was coffee shop talk in the run-up to the polls.

The term of the current Parliament expires on April 28, 2013, but Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak can dissolve it earlier. Once dissolution is announced, the Election Commission has to call for an election within 60 days.

Mawan said the party had never discussed dropping Jelaing, who is also senior vice president, although the party submitted more than one name for Saratok to the national BN leadership for consideration, and Jelaing was aware of it.

He stressed that whatever the decision of the BN top leadership, everyone should work together to ensure a BN win.

Mawan pointed out that the loss in Krian in the 2011 polls should also serve as a lesson for everyone. In the run-up to that election, there was opposition to renominate Nyarok for Krian.

SPDP used to have four MPs, namely Jelaing, Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing ( Bintulu), Datuk Jacob Dungau Sagan ( Baram) and Datuk Dr Tiki Lafe (Mas Gading).

But Dr Tiki was sacked from the party more than a year ago together with four assemblymen for gross insubordination. The five, whose moniker is G5, are now partyless.

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