KUCHING, Nov 5 — Stampin, a semi-urban parliamentary constituency, will see incumbent and Sarawak DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen face Padawan Municipal chairman Lo Khere Chiang from the ruling Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) and businessman Lue Cheng Hing from Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) in the 15th general election (GE15).
The battle, in reality, is between Chong, who is also Padungan State Assemblyman, against Lo, Kota Sentosa State Assemblyman.
Chong won in Stampin in the 2018 general election when he defeated Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) president Datuk Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian, who stood on the Barisan Nasional’s logo.
Now the political scenario is different.
The three state constituencies — Kota Sentosa, Batu Kitang and Batu Kawah — within the Stampin parliamentary were won by GPS-SUPP in last year’s state assembly.
The GPS-SUPP candidates won the three seats by large margin.
Asked to rate his chance of retaining Stampin, Chong admitted to reporters that the defeat of the DAP in three state seats was a setback to the party in the 2021 state election.
He said despite the defeat, the party still continued with its struggle, like the rest of Pakatan Harapan (PH) politicians, to fight for a better Malaysia.
“We don’t give up in our struggle,” Chong, who is also Sarawak PH chairman, said.
“This 15th general election is a federal election and I believe that consideration of the voters will be different than in the 2021 state election,” he said.
Chong also questioned Lo for standing in Stampin, instead of putting SUPP central committee member Tan Kai as previously known to the voters of Stampin.
“My only question to Lo is why so greedy. He is the chairman of MPP, Batu Kitang State Assemblyman and now he wants to be an MP for Stampin.
“When he is attending Parliament sitting, he would not have enough time to attend to MPP official duties.
“I think the line is very clear. I will leave it to the voters of Stampin to make the decision. Every election is a tough challenge,” he said, adding that the DAP is facing the GPS election machinery, money, and social media.
Lo, on the other hand, said he must work hard to win the support of the voters.
“The challenge now is to convince the voters that GPS is the only way answer to protect our rights as enshrined in the Malaysia Agreement and the Federal Constitution.
“When GPS does well, when Sarawak does well, Stampin will also do well,” Lo said.
He said Sarawak is already doing very well under GPS since 2017.
“We managed to impose 5 per cent tax on the export of petroleum products. Over the last three years almost RM9 billion has so far been collected,” he said.
“Right now we are going forward to send the 31 MPs to Parliament,” he said.
Based on the latest verified electoral roll, Stampin has 121,00 registered voters compared to 66,240 in the 2018 general election.