KUCHING: Newly-minted Works Minister Baru Bian has pledged to give his level best in seeing efficiency, transparency and accountability in all the ministry’s dealings.
The Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Sarawak chairman said he is aware of the heavy responsibility that comes with the portfolio. He is delighted that Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has put his trust in him to lead the Works Ministry.
“I am honoured to have been appointed as Minister of Works in the new Pakatan Harapan (PH) federal government led by Dr Mahathir. I am conscious of the fact that the responsibility attached to this portfolio is a heavy and onerous one,” he said in a press statement following his ministerial appointment yesterday.
Baru extended his appreciation to Dr Mahathir for the latter’s confidence in him.
“I will endeavour to do my best to ensure that the Works Ministry is efficient, transparent and accountable in all its dealings. I humbly ask for your prayers as I embark on this new job,” he said.
Baru, 59, defeated Rita Insol of BN-PRS to win Selangau seat by a slim 486 vote-majority in the May 9 polls. He was first elected Ba Kelalan assemblyman in the 2011 state election, and was re-elected in the 2016 polls.
A lawyer who graduated from the University of Melbourne, Australia, Baru has been championing for native customary rights (NCR) in Sarawak.
Baru, a Lun Bawang, received his primary education in the interior areas of Sarawak – Long Tellang, Long Semadoh, and Long Napir until the early 1970s – before continuing his secondary education in Limbang.
After becoming a temporary teacher at SMK Medamit in Limbang, he pursued his tertiary education at Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM), Shah Alam, Selangor in Diploma in Law (DIL), and subsequently obtained a Bachelor of Law (LL.B) in 1986.
Subsequently, he became a trainee at the Messrs Rashid and Lee firm in Kuala Lumpur, and was admitted to the Malayan Bar as a lawyer and solicitor.
At the same time, he ventured into politics as an ordinary member of Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS). His involvement on the ground started in the state election in 1991 which saw him being defeated in the Lawas parliamentary seat.
The following year, he set up Messrs Baru Bian Advocates and Solicitors in Kuching.
In 2004, he resigned his post as PBDS Supreme Council member to contest as an Independent candidate in the Ba Kelalan by-election following the death of its incumbent Datuk Dr Judson Sakai in a helicopter crash. But he was defeated at the hands of the Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate Datuk Nelson Balang Rining.
In 2006, he contested on the Sarawak National Party (SNAP) ticket for the Ba Kelalan seat and was once again beaten by Balang of BN.
Two years later, Baru joined Parti Keadilan Rakyat Malaysia (PKR) as an ordinary member and in November 2009, he was appointed as Sarawak PKR chairman.
His success in the electoral area began to manifest in the 10th state election in 2011 and 11th state election (2016) when in both polls, he defeated BN candidate from Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) Willie Liau.
In the last general election he contested in the Selangau Parliamentary constituency and helped PKR to wrest the seat from Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS), to become a MP for the first time.
For the record, prior to the 14th general election, Datuk Henry Sum Agong created history when he became the first leader from the Lun Bawang community to be appointed as Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism in the federal cabinet, and now Baru has been appointed as the Minister of Works to erase the record.
Baru has also represented four individuals seeking a decision from the Federal Court on whether their application to convert out of Islam should be heard in the High Court or Syariah Court.
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