KUCHING, Nov 4 — Caretaker minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar today explained he was not pressured into yielding his Santubong seat in the 15th general election (GE15).
He said he wanted to dispel rumours that Sarawak Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Openg or others had pushed him into sitting out the general election.
“I want to make it very clear that I did not want to contest out of my free will. Nobody pressured me not to contest,” he told reporters on arrival at the Kuching International Airport.
“I have given notice to the premier three months ago, informing him that I wished to withdraw from the general election this time,” he said.
He said when Santubong residents heard that he would not be defending his seat, their community and grassroots party leaders met him to ask he contest a final time.
“I told them that I had talked with the premier. He said it was up to me, but he said he would not make decision at that time,” he said.
Wan Junaidi said the premier made a similar reply at their second meeting.
“But I kept my promise to myself that when you are on the top of your popularity and performance, there is a time for you to step aside. Don’t wait for a time when people kick you out,” he said.
He said now was a good time for him to step aside and not to overstay his welcome.
He said he met Abang Johari for the third time on November 2, telling the premier that he was firm in his decision not to seek re-election in GE15.
“There is no change and I still stuck to my stand that I wish to withdraw from contesting,” he said.
Asked what he would do next as he would no longer be a member of parliament, he said he would like to meet friends in coffee shops.
He said he has no health issues and he can think clearly.
“But the truth is I have received many offers, such as becoming university professor or lecturer, but I told them to let me relax first,” he said.