KAPIT: Members of the Orang Ulu community here have pledged their full support to Hulu Rajang MP Datuk Billy Abit Joo.
During a recent dialogue at Belaga Bazaar, many community leaders expressed their hope that the Barisan Nasional (BN) would renominate Abit for the seat.
“For the past 21 years, he has been fighting for the people in Hulu Rajang and noticeably in the past five years, there is tremendous development under the new prime minister,” said Kayan chief Pemanca Umek Jeno.
“Development in Belaga could be credited to his good relationship with the state and federal governments as a senior, experienced, capable and well-respected MP. He is still the most qualified person and best choice to represent BN for Hulu Rajang in the coming polls and is more than able to continue serving the people in this constituency,” said Umek. Kenyah chief Pemanca Tony Kulleh said Abit was very experienced, honest, well-educated and had good relationship with the people.
“As an MP, he has the ‘jiwa rakyat’ spirit so needed by elected representatives to understand and help rural folks in Belaga. I believe that currently there is no one suitable and qualified to replace Datuk Billy as MP in Hulu Rajang,” said Tony.
He added that Abit still has a lot of unfinished work in Hulu Rajang and the rakyat still need his dedicated service.
“He is a local, born and bred in Belaga, which means he knows first-hand the needs of the people. We, all the representatives and community leaders, continue to fully support him. Winnable incumbents like Datuk Billy should be given priority to serve the people by the government,” said Tony.
Punan chief councillor Melai Ajang said BN had always cared for the people.
“If Datuk Billy is nominated from BN to stand again, we would fully lend our support to ensure a victory for BN,” he said.
Maren Uma Lato Juman, who represents longhouse chieftains under the Bakun resettlement project, said BN need not look for another candidate for the area.
“He is the best candidate for Hulu Rajang in the eyes of the people in Belaga. We are delighted with the development brought to Belaga through joint efforts by Datuk Billy and YB Liwan Lagang (Belaga assemblyman) and the various communities in Belaga,” he said.
Asap-Koyan longhouse community chairman Maren Uma Duren Lihan called on the people to work together with Abit and Liwan.
“We are confident that Datuk Billy still commands outstanding support in Belaga, even more so than before. Nearly all the people in Belaga still want him to serve as their MP. People in Sungai Asap-Koyan fully support him to be maintained candidate for Hulu Rajang,” he said.
Meanwhile, Chinese community leader Penghulu Neo Hood Joo urged the people to continue supporting BN as Belaga still need the party for continued development.
He pointed out that the BN government had provided roads, clinics and banks, while the opposition could only make empty promises.
The Hulu Rajang parliamentary seat covers the state seats of Belaga and Baleh, held by Minister of Land Development Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing.