Sabtu, 26 Mac 2011

All eyes on PBB new faces

With nomination and polling dates fixed for the Sarawak election, speculation now centres on the candidates, especially new faces.
Of special interest is the possible line-up of Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB), the backbone of the state BN.
Chief Minister and PBB president Abdul Taib Mahmud has said that about a quarter of the candidates for the 35 seats allocated to the party would be new.
Party sources said that 10 to 12 new faces were likely be fielded, most of them in constituencies which PBB won with a small majority in the last state election.
“New and possibly young candidates would enable the party to repeat the clean sweep that it achieved in the 2006 state election,” according to a PBB source who did not want to be identified.
Several young leaders, most of them with a professional background, has been mentioned, including Universiti Darul Iman lecturer and blogger Mohammad Hailmi Sajili, cardiologist at Serdang Hospital Dr Annuar Rapee, Kedup branch information chief and lawyer Bernard Phillip, who is the son of former minister Martin Ben, civil servant Alex Ganyan and educationist Joseph Tiam.
Other possible candidates named included Mukah Resident Saudi Narani, Sarawak Common Facilities managing director Abang Jemat Abang Bujang, Telang Usan PBB Youth chief Dennis Ngau, the chief minister’s former political secretary Robertson Mawa and current political secretaries Tengku Geruna and Robert Laing Anyie.
The party is also said to be considering people with religious credentials, including Sarawak mufti Kipli Yassin. Among the other possible candidates are teacher and music composer Patrik Khamis and PBB Demak Jaya deputy chief Dr Hazlan Hipni.
There is also talk that MP Wahab Dollah and a prominent bumiputra corporate figure are being considered as candidates.
Situation very volatile, incumbents not sure
However, a party insider said the situation was very volatile, and many incumbents were not sure they would be retained.
Semop assemblyman and state assembly speaker Mohamad Asfia Awang Nassar Asfia has had to refute speculation that he is among PBB incumbents to be dropped.
While many incumbents wait anxiously to see whether they will be renominated, several others have stated their intention to give way to new faces.
Among those planning to bow out are former assistant tourism minister Hamden Ahmad (Belawai), former assistant minister in the chief minister’s office Bolhassan Di (Beting Maro), six-term Sadong Jaya assemblyman Wan Abdul Wahab Wan Sanusi, four-term Demak Laut representative and assistant industrial development minister Abang Abdul Rauf Abang Zen, former assistant rural development minister Ambrose Belikau Enturan (Katibas) and Saribas incumbent Wahbi Junaidi.
Others include six-term Kedup assemblyman Frederick Bayoi Manggie and Lihan Jok who has served Telang Usan for two terms.
Political analysts expect most of the new faces to be middle-aged and drawn from the professions.
Universiti Malaysia Sarawak senior lecturer Jeniri Amir expects balance in the line-up in terms of age and career background. He is also sure the contenders will include women candidates.
PBB fielded seven new faces in the last state election. This time round, it is certain to have more first-timers.
“They really want to rejuvenate the party to enable the new team to move forward and transform Sarawak,” Jeniri said.
The 71-seat assembly which was dissolved on Monday had 63 representatives from BN – with PBB contributing 35, Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) 11, Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) nine, and the Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) eight.
The DAP held six seats while PKR and Parti Cinta Malaysia had one representative each.
- Bernama

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