Although Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) has submitted a name for the Batang Ai by-election to be held on 7 April, there is another list allegedly submitted by Alfred Jabu to the Chief Minister, according to coffee-shop politicians at BDC Stampin, Kuching.
“You know who Jabu wants to be the candidate? It must be that senior civil servant” said one political observer answering his own question. He did not name the civil servant.
It is also learnt that Jabu wanted to be the director of operations for the by-election, but PRS has its own man.
The civil servant referred to is Nelson Mujah, the Lubok Antu district Officer. Although for now, he has been named as the Returning Officer, thus putting to rest his chance to contest.
However, William Nyallau Badak was also in a similar position when he was appointed the Returning Officer for the Lubok Antu Parliamentary seat in the 2004 Parliamentary election; he resigned at the eleventh hour to contest against Jawah Gerang of the then Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS).
Meanwhile, PRS has submitted the name of its candidate for the by-election. Speculation is rife that he is a senior agriculture officer.
However, some PRS members in Lubok Antu are skeptical, as they suspect that the officer is leaning more towards Parti Pesaka Bumiputra Bersatu (PBB) having a very close relationship with Donald Lawan.
Some PRS members do not want another “Masir” or “Nyallau” in the making. They want Unting’s private secretary to represent the party, whose loyalty to Unting and to the party was undoubted.
The Agriculture officer referred to had been noted for his keenness to contest in every election even against PBDS candidates in the 1980s. But each time, he was not selected by, in particular PBB, or SNAP.
He had often been seen in the company of those who were pro-PBB.According to one political observer, he had already like a cock started to crow by organizing a BBQ function at his longhouse a few days ago.
But such a function soon after the death of Dublin Unting made Unting’s relatives unhappy as if the officer and his supporters did not respect the mourning period. It is also said that the officer had met with Jabu last week.
PRS members recalled that Donald Lawan who is a PBB member was behind the candidacy of Masir Kujat for the Sri Aman parliamentary seat in the last election, ignoring Doris Brodie, the number one candidate of PRS and James Masing.
In the Lubok Antu parliamentary constituency, Masing’s nomination of Desmond Sateng was also put aside; instead Jabu recommended William Nyallau Badak as the candidate to contest donning PRS shirts.
The selection of Nyallau and Masir who are known to be supporters of PBB had made PRS members unhappy as well as making Masing very unpopular.
Some members openly came out accusing PRS and Masing as being bullied by PBB.For now, the BN is still short listing the candidate for the by-election. But will a PBB man contest on behalf of PRS in the Batang Ai by-election? Let us all wait and see. The Broken Shield