IT LOOKS like this pre-campaigning period for the Pujut by-election in Miri is already becoming a battle of rhetorics.
There has been already two police reports lodged by members of rival parties. A lawsuit is looming in the horizon.
And not to mention all the lobbying going on by those aspiring candidates on all sides keen to contest the Pujut state seat.
Pujut constituency, which covers a big part of Miri, fell vacant last month after incumbent assemblyman Dr Ting Tiong Choon from DAP was sacked by the State Assembly because of controversies over his Australian citizenship.
The Election Commission has fixed June 20 for nomination and July 4 for polling but the atmosphere in Pujut is already heating up.
Three days ago, Sarawak Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh came to Miri and lodged a counter police report against Dr Ting, who earlier lodged a report against Wong for alleged defamation.
Dr Ting’s sacking followed a motion tabled by Wong during the assembly sitting in Kuching.
The Pujut DAP chairman is suing Wong, among other things, for calling him a bankrupt.
Wong, the United People Party (UPP) president countered this move by lodging a report accusing Dr Ting of making a false police report against him.
UPP, a breakaway group of the Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP), is claiming a stake in the Pujut seat and so does SUPP, a BN component party.
SUPP leaders said the Pujut seat had been theirs until it was given to a Barisan Nasional direct-candidate during last year’s state election.
Miri SUPP leaders are already in campaign mode even though Barisan has not yet announced its candidate for Pujut.
UPP has activated its own campaign machinery as well for Pujut. The party is not a Barisan component but it claimed that it was Barisan-friendly and had the right to contest for Pujut.
Now, there is a possibility that UPP will be heading for a direct confrontation with SUPP for the right to contest in Pujut.
There are still two weeks to go before the nomination day but the build-up to the by-election is not very promising.
I look forward to hearing the candidates in the Pujut poll telling the people how they will serve the consituency, instead of harping purely on election rhetorics.
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