Taib in no hurry to dissolve assembly

KUCHING: Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud is in no hurry to dissolve the state assembly though most analysts have predicted that the polls might be held as early as this month. 

The main reasons are that he has to resolve the problems within the Barisan Nasional component parties in the state and needs time to monitor the impact of the recent fuel increase. 

Taib said he had to study these matters in detail before deciding on the polls date. 

“There is (still) plenty of time,” he said during the 60 Minit Bersama Menteri interview with TV1 on Wednesday night.  

The coalition won 60 of the 62 seats in the 2001 September elections. Nine new seats are up for grabs in the upcoming polls due in seven months’ time. 

Taib said the coalition would have to address the candidacy issue in two or three seats. 

However, he did not say if these included Belaga and Ngemah which have become a contentious issue between component parties Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) and Parti Rakyat Sarawak (Parti Rakyat). 

The tussle for the two seats started after the respective assemblymen Stanley Ajang (Belaga) and Gabriel Adit (Ngemah) joined SPDP three months ago. 

Ajang and Adit were the secretary-general and vice-president, respectively, of Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS) before the party was de-registered for failing to resolve a leadership crisis more than a year ago. 

The state Barisan supreme council had agreed earlier to allocate these two seats to Parti Rakyat, which replaced PBDS in the coalition. 

Parti Rakyat is led by Datuk Dr James Masing, the former PBDS information chief. 

On rumours of his impending retirement, Taib said they began when Datuk Adenan Satem resigned as federal Natural Resources and Environment Min-ister recently. 

Adenan, also senior vice-president of Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu led by Taib, has returned to Sarawak to play a bigger role in state politics.  

Taib also said former Tourism Minister Datuk Leo Michael Toyad would be appointed chairman of the state Convention Centre to be set up soon.  

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