SIBU: Former PBB Bawang Assan chairman Watson Bangau "won't win" the seat even if all the Iban votes go to him, claims PBB Youth chief Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof.
It was previously announced that any PBB members who competed against the Barisan Nasional direct candidate will no longer be members of PBB.
"We will inform our steadfast Barisan supporters not to vote for him (Bangau). Even if all the Iban votes go to him, he won't win. Why not give it to a person who can represent Barisan? So go and vote for Barisan's candidate," he said after officiating the launch of the technical and vocational education and training (TVET) exhibition at SMK Sacred Heart here.
Fadillah, who is also Works Minister, said the party's election machinery had been tasked with spreading the message to the constituents.
Bawang Assan has a total of 18,340 voters and is a predominantly Chinese area with the community making up 55.1% of the voters, followed by Ibans (38.8%) and Malays/Melanau (5.3%).
It is a five-cornered fray for the seat, with candidates being incumbent and Barisan direct candidate Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh, Bangau; 40-year-old businessman Wong Sing Wei (Star); Stanley Chiew, a new candidate from DAP; and Yeu Bang Kor from the Sarawak for Sarawakians movement.
When asked about the Government's guarantee that promises of development is not just a gimmick, Fadillah said many of Barisan's promises of development have been fulfilled, such as the Pan-Borneo Highway.
"Of course, if we promise, it doesn't mean it'll be complete tomorrow. To implement a project, a lot of factors have to be taken into consideration. Studies have to be conducted, designs have to be made, especially for buildings and roads.
"It will take time… sometimes in two to three years, sometimes even five years. Because we have to do a social impact study, environment study, all that. Then only thing we will get is an allocation, so it will take some time," he said.
With regards to the Kapit-Kanowit-Song road, which was promised 30 years ago, he said it is in the middle of being implemented.
"It's not easy. Everyone is competing for funds. But you can see that everything is being done. Slowly but steadily, we are progressing", he added.
In his speech at the event, Fadillah said TVET is very important to the country in the efforts of creating a highly-skilled, innovative and knowledgeable workforce that is able to compete on an international level.
Fadillah hails from Sibu, which he described as a "below-sea-level sinking city" with wavy roads due to the swampy land.
He said the high cost of making roads here is an example of a technical challenge that needs creativity, innovation, and highly-skilled workers to implement a solution.
"For 1km of road, you need RM20mil to make sure it doesn't sink," he added.
He said the Government had never sidelined TVET, as the Malaysian Education Blueprint 2015-2016 gives a specific focus on the development of this educational field.
There is also no need to worry about jobs in the technical and vocational sector, said Fadillah, as the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (Score) will generate all kinds of job opportunities and industries, especially for those born in the state.
"Lots of high-industry investors, such as oil and gas, glass and solar-panel-makers, need highly-skilled workers.
"This is the market of the future. If we look at Germany, 60% of them are trained in technical and vocational fields," he said.
With a trained and skilled local force to develop the Land of the Hornbills, there will no longer be a need to depend on foreign labour, he added.
Fadillah then called upon parents and students not to look down upon TVET and called for awareness and interest in the subject to be fostered in the community.
He later visited the exhibitors in the hall, taking the time to admire the handiwork of an elaborately-decorated cake, and speaking to those offering everything from engineering and electronic repairing courses to beauticians specialising in nail art and hairdressing.
School principal David Teo Wu, who is Fadillah's cousin, also mentioned that twenty institutions in Sarawak offer programs in the field.