S'wak PKR takes on more load, to go after defectors

·2-min read
S'wak PKR takes on more load, to go after defectors
S'wak PKR takes on more load, to go after defectors

A weakened Sarawak PKR has been tasked by Pakatan Harapan to field candidates for 47 out of 82 seats in the upcoming Sarawak election.

Four seats that were assigned to Amanah in 2016 - Sadong Jaya, Beting Maro, Daro and Balingian - have been passed to PKR.

PKR will also be tasked with fielding candidates for Bukit Kota and Batu Danau, which BN was given a walkover in the 2016 elections.

PKR and DAP will be splitting six seats where they faced each other during the 2016 elections.

PKR will field candidates for Mulu, Murum and Ngemah while DAP will be fielding candidates for Simanggang, Mambong and Batu Kitang.

These six seats were a huge sore point in Harapan relations after negotiations between PKR and DAP broke down.

Old friends, now rivals

The Harapan arrangement also meant that PKR had been given the task of unseating three former legislative assemblypersons who won their seats on a party ticket but defected last year.

The trio are Baru Bian (Ba'kelalan), See Chee How (Batu Lintang) and Ali Biju (Krian).

Baru and See are now key figures in the relatively new opposition Parti Bersatu Sarawak (PSB) while Ali is a member of Bersatu.

Their departure is believed to have significantly weakened the party as most party activists loyal to the trio are believed to have left with them.

At the moment, PSB is not in an alliance with Harapan although the coalition has not ruled out further discussions.

PSB has another four assemblypersons - Ranum Mina (Opar), Johnical Rayong Ngipa (Engkilili), Tiong Thai King (Dudong) and Wong Soon Koh (Bawang Assan).

PKR will field candidates in Opar and Engkilili while DAP will be fielding candidates in Dudong and Bawang Assan.

It will be an uphill task to unseat any of these four incumbents.

Both Opar and Engkilili are represented by multi-term incumbents while Dudong is represented by Tiong Thai King, 75, the younger brother of multi-national logging tycoon Tiong Hiew King, who is also the founder of the Rimbunan Hijau Group.

As for Bawang Assan, this seat has been represented by Wong, 78, the PSB president and founder, since 1991. In his six electoral outings, Wong averaged an impressive 64.5 percent of the popular vote.