Mawan: A number recommended to stand in Saratok

Datuk Nelson Balang Rining

Datuk Nelson Balang Rining

KUCHING: A number of names have been recommended to stand in Saratok in the upcoming 13th General Election (GE13), said Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) president Tan Sri William Mawan.

According to him, this was to enable Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to shortlist and select the best candidate he sees fit to represent Barisan Nasional (BN) in the constituency.

Speaking to reporters following Najib’s meeting with state BN leaders, the Minister of Social Development also revealed that he had included a potential woman candidate in the list based on requests from BN grassroots leaders from the constituency.

“However, BN leaders will make their own assessment in deciding who is the most qualified to stand,” he stressed, adding that whatever the decision, personal matters should be set aside to ensure that the BN candidate chosen by the prime minister is victorious.

“At the end of the day, what also matters is whether the candidate can work for the people or not,” said Mawan.

Meanwhile, SPDP secretary-general Datuk Nelson Balang Rining provided a different and contradicting point of view when asked to comment on suggestions made by certain quarters of BN component parties to field a woman candidate in Saratok.

“In my opinion, this is an element of people trying to disrupt the unity of our party within Saratok itself,” he said.

“Of course, prior to any election, there will be people who wants to lobby … but as far as SPDP is concerned, our incumbent for Saratok is Jelaing Mersat.

According to him, the notion of fielding a woman candidate had never crossed the party’s mind.

“We cannot disrupt what has been said and what has been submitted. The submission has been done,” he stressed.

Nevertheless, Balang told The Borneo Post that whatever the outcome, the decision is all up to the Prime Minister.

“But YB Jelaing still tops the list for SPDP and we are all out for him,” he reiterated.

“To put it nicely, we don’t want to repeat the fiasco of Ba Kelalan.”

In the last State Election, the party dropped Nelson, who was Ba Kelalan incumbent, at the eleventh hour in favour of newcomer Willie Liau.

Willie eventually lost the seat to Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Sarawak chief Baru Bian.

On the contrasting statements, a party insider close to the grassroots said this was a blessing for BN as it will provide a ‘grey area’ and room for BN leadership to weigh the pros and cons in their consideration for the candidate in Saratok.