Businessman Belayong is Meluan’s chance to make good

SARAWAK FOCUS: Meluan should take the coming 11th Sarawak Election as a golden opportunity to vote in a person with the potential to bring about positive changes to a seat that for about 15 years has been left in the comparative doldrums.

Meluan deserves more than just Wong Judat, its three-term elected representative whose not too infrequent absence from the sittings of the State Assembly isn’t something to crow about.

A Borneo Post Online report of 16 December 2015 says:

Despite being assemblyman for at least three terms, Wong Judat seldom appeared when the state assembly convened.

According to State Legislative Assembly secretary Supian Tarmizi, in the April sitting Wong only turned up once and in this sitting, he had only turned up about three times so far.

Supian said state assemblypersons have to inform the State Legislative Assembly in writing if they failed to attend the sitting even for a day.

Even for emergencies, the state lawmakers would make it a point to formerly apply for leave of absence, he added.

He said George (Pelagus assemblyman George Lagong) had applied for leave of absence for the whole duration of this sitting for health reason.

“The member for Meluan is a totally different case. He usually turns up for a few times and goes absent for the rest. He does not inform us of the reasons for his absence.”

Is there any wonder why Meluan, with 13,042 voters (Iban 12,402 or 95%; Chinese 472 or 3.6%; Bidayuh 89 or 0.7%; and other races 79 or 0.6%), has much catching up to do in terms of development.

It is estimated that today, some 40% of Meluan folk still depend on water transport and logging roads, 30% have yet to be connected to the power mains and treated water is limited to the town while longhouse folk have to make do with gravity-fed pipes.

Meluan needs a dedicated people’s representative, a professional with a family background of exemplary qualities and the experience to operate within the government system.

SPDP president Tiong King Sing must have had this in mind when he said in April last year that he had directed Belayong Jampong, a Business Administration graduate from the University of Bolton, United Kingdom, to work the Meluan ground.

Belayong fits the bill. Besides his academic achievement, he comes from a family of graduates. Even though their parents were farmers, seven of 10 siblings are graduates.

Belayong is married to Winney Karani, a graduate herself. The couple have two children who are also graduates.

An entrepreneur now, Belayong was a senior government officer for 25 years, which should place him in a position of advantage if he gets to serve Meluan as its assemblyman.

On 20 April 2015 The Antdaily said Tiong had endorsed businessman Belayong as SPDP candidate for Meluan.

This was repeated on June 5 by The Borneo Post, and on June 7 by Akhbar Mingguan Sarawak that said Belayong Jampong Calon Berpotensi DUN Meluan (Belayong Jampong potential candidate for DUN Meluan).

On June 10, The Borneo Post ran another story, saying SPDP had “approved businessman Belayong Jampong to contest in Meluan seat for the coming state election”.

So has Tiong made the right choice in endorsing Belayong?

An associate of his says Tiong certainly has because Belayong’s Meluan bid has been able to attract the participation of all the local chapters of the BN component parties whose members have been appearing at his functions and visits to the longhouses.

The associate also says among Belayong’s most significant supporters are Julau MP Joseph Salang who has been appointed chairman of the Meluan BN Election Machinery Committee formed last Jan 9, community leaders and longhouse chieftains.

No doubt Meluan has several other suitors, but in any political race where the starting point could be yesterday, or last month or even a year ago, Belayong had had an early start – well before the rest.

As the early bird, Belayong gets the worm.

And he deserves it as much as Meluan deserves him.-The Ant Daily

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