‘Jabu’s retirement from politics just speculation, rumours’

KUCHING: As elections draw nearer speculations on who will be contesting and who among the incumbents will be dropped to give way to new faces would inevitably be rife.

Presently, the hottest news buzzing around is that Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Alfred Jabu will retire from active politics after 44 years serving Layar constituency and Sarawak as a cabinet minister.

At 78, Jabu is the oldest serving assemblyman and if he is contesting in the next state election speculated to be held either in March or April, he will be 83 when the new term expires in 2021.

However, according to a PBB inside source, whatever had been written about Jabu’s retirement were merely rumours and speculation.

“At this point of time, there has not been any talk about his retirement from active politics within PBB’s inner circle. But if he decides to retire now, the party will have to find someone who can fill his shoes to carry on his legacy not just in Layar but also in the Cabinet,” the source told The Borneo Post here yesterday.

The source added that the names of some candidates had been announced by PBB president and Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem, but the list of candidates had not been finalised.

“We have 40 seats and our president has announced some names. But for the rest of the seats, we will leave it to him to decide on the most suitable and winnable candidates,” stressed the source.

On Layar seat, the source said if Jabu decided to leave, the best person to succeed and continue his legacy would be his son, Gerald Rentap Jabu, the current PBB Youth deputy chief.

“To me, he will be the most winnable if his father calls it a day. He has been with the party for so long and he is a capable person. So he will be a natural successor,” added the source.

The source also revealed that the five new seats PBB is now eyeing are Tellian, Kabong, Gedong, Bukit Goram and Stakan.

He pointed out that if Jabu were to retire, the most senior person to succeed him as deputy chief minister will be PBB senior vice-president Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, who is currently Federal Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities.

“So if that’s the case, Uggah will be fielded in the coming state election and one of the incumbents in Betong has to give way for that necessary move,” added the source.

And in return, the assemblyman who will give way to Uggah will be fielded as a candidate to replace him (Uggah) for the Betong parliamentary seat in the coming general election scheduled in 2018.

Meanwhile, PRS president Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Masing said if Jabu calls it a day, the government must give him a dignified exit otherwise the Dayak community will not be happy if he is not properly treated.

“He has been a good colleague. And for the past 22 years, he has tried his best to develop rural areas,” said Masing.-Borneo Post

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