BN spoilt for choice in Mulu

MIRI: The Barisan Nasional (BN) seems spoilt for choice when it comes to potential candidates for the new Mulu state constituency.

Observers have noted that potential BN candidates range from professionals, to top guns in the corporate sector as well as civil service.

Names that have been raised include lawyer and Federation of Orang Ulu Associations Malaysia (Forum) president Datuk Gerawat Gala, Deputy State Secretary Datu Ose Murang, prominent corporate figure Datuk Isaac Lugun, former state Immigration director Datu Robert Lian, children’s and heart specialist Dr Philip Raja, as well as lawyer and Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) Youth chief Robert Ayu.

Although Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu) CEO and former Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Dato Sri Idris Jala has also been mentioned, he would unlikely be a candidate.

The Mulu seat was carved out of the Ba Kelalan and Telang Usan seats, covering the Kelabit highlands down to Upper Baram and Poyut in Marudi town. It has some 8,600 voters from the Kenyah, Kayan, Penan, Kelabit and Iban communities.

Chief Minister and state BN chairman Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem had previously indicated that the ruling coalition’s candidate would likely come from the Kelabit community.

According to Councillor John Terawe, it does not matter which Kelabit or BN component party gets the BN ticket as it is more important for the candidate to be inclusive and accepted by the electorate.

“It would be even better if the elected representative can go on to become an assistant minister who can better serve this remote constituency stretching from Bario to Marudi,” he said in a telephone interview from Bario.

He said on the people’s wish list are economic development through tourism and agriculture to reduce poverty, as well as better rural water and electricity supply coverage along with other basic amenities.

“There must be balanced development and our Chief Minister has done a good job in cracking down on illegal logging and conservation of nature,” he said.

SPDP recently staked its claim over the seat by nominating Robert and establishing an election committee for the constituency.

On the opposition front, the Democratic Action Party (DAP) is expected to nominate Paul Anyie Raja, who is from Long Lellang.

In 2011, he contested under the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) ticket in Kakus and lost to Datuk John Sikie Tayai in a four-cornered fight.

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