Friday, April 19

I’m still a winnable candidate in Ba’ Kelalan — Balang

Datuk Nelson Balang Rining

Datuk Nelson Balang Rining

KUCHING: Former Ba’ Kelalan assemblyman Datuk Nelson Balang Rining believes that he is still a winnable candidate for BN if he were to be picked to stand in his former constituency.

According to him, he has visited almost all the 100 villages in Ba’Kelalan except for Bario, which he plans to visit during the coming Food Festival on July 30.

“I have moved around on the ground and I believe that if I am given the chance by the top BN leadership to stand again in Ba’ Kelalan, I stand a good chance to wrest back the seat from the opposition,” Balang told The Borneo Post here yesterday.

Balang, who was the former Ba’Kelalan assemblyman, was dropped as a BN candidate in the last state election in 2011 and was subsequently replaced by Willie Liau, who then lost to state PKR chairman Baru Bian by a 473-vote majority.

Balang, a former personal assistant to the late Datuk Dr Judson Sakai Tagal who perished with six others in a helicopter crash in Bario on July 12, 2004, was picked as a candidate in the subsequent by-election, in which he won. He successfully defended the seat in the 2006 state election.

When asked about how confident he was in winning back the seat from the opposition, Balang said the constituency was now losing some RM1.5 mln a year from MRP and thus, the people were now thirsty for more development.

During the last BAT 4 trip to Bario and Ba’ Kelalan last year, most of the voters including community leaders had voiced their concerns on the lack of funds from the government, especially for basic necessities such as water, electricity and roads.

Meanwhile, Balang, who is SPDP secretary-general said that as far as his party was concerned, there was no plan to share the eight seats with the SPDP-breakaway party Teras, who has claimed five of the seats as they were now incumbents. The five Teras-held seats are Pakan, Marudi, Tasik Biru, Batu Danau and Bekenu.

Teras president Tan Sri William Mawan has said recently that the incumbents were now entrenched in their respective areas and confident that they could win the five seats if they were allocated to them.

Mawan, however, was quick to point out that the final decision on seat allocation lies with state BN chairman Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem.

“We’ll cross that bridge once we get to it,” said Balang when asked if SPDP was willing to share its seats with Teras.