SIBU (Nov 19): Businessman Joshua Ting may be a political newbie but he is ready to battle in the Bawang Assan constituency should he be nominated by Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS).
The 36-year-old Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) Bawang Assan Youth chief said he has done the groundwork in the area over the last two years.
“I have visited and met almost 99 per cent of the longhouse chieftains, recorded and understand all the challenges they encountered,” he said.
Ting, who holds a degree in Financing and Marketing from Curtin University in Perth, said Bawang Assan requires better infrastructure, living conditions, employment, and also a safer environment for the longhouse folk.
As a Sibu Rural District Council (SRDC) councillor, Ting said he has disseminated information and reached out to rural residents.
According to him, he has already used up over RM200,000 on his own funds to help provide food aid and other necessities to rural communities.
“Even though I have been strongly recommended by my party to contest in Bawang Assan, the final decision still rests with the Chief Minister (Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg),” he said.
Also rumoured potential GPS candidates for the seat are Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) Bawang Assan chairman Romeo Christopher Tegong and Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) Bawang Assan chairman Senator Robert Lau Hui Yew.
Traditionally, Bawang Assan is allocated to SUPP, however in the 2016 election, incumbent Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh won as a Barisan Nasional (BN) direct candidate.
Now Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) president, Wong has held the seat for five consecutive terms since 1991 and confirmed he will defend it in the upcoming election.
In 2016, Wong garnered 9,015 votes to beat his nearest challenger Stanley Chiew Sung Ngie from the Democratic Action Party (DAP), who polled 4,884 votes.
As one of the ‘hottest’ seats in Sibu, Bawang Assan is expected to see a multi-cornered fight as Parti Bumi Kenyalang (PBK) recently announced that it would field political newcomer Michelle Ling, 25, in the seat, while Pakatan Harapan (PH) is also expected to field a candidate.