MIRI: The Chinese seats in northern Sarawak are still there for Barisan Nasional and the Opposition to fight for, with no party having a clear advantage.
However, as of this moment, BN-SUPP is confident it can upset DAP by winning back the Tanjung Batu seat located in Bintulu, and the Pujut seat in Miri.
Barisan is also confident it can retain the Senadin constituency in Miri.
Northern Sarawak has four state constituencies in which the Chinese form the majority of voters.
These seats are Tanjung Batu (which was carved out from the former Kidurong seat), Pujut, Senadin and Piasau in Miri.
Tanjung Batu is controlled by DAP whose incumbent, veteran assemblyman Chiew Ching Sing, is defending his seat.
Chiew is being challenged by Senator Pau Chiong Ung who was picked by Sarawak Barisan chairman Tan Sri Adenan Satem to contest under the SUPP banner.
Pau was from SPDP but Adenan told him to join SUPP to contest in the state polls.
The latest information gathered from the Barisan machinery indicates that Pau has a decent chance of causing an upset against Chiew.
“Pau has good connections with the Chinese, especially the business and community-based bodies.
“During the past week, he has been garnering good turnouts at his talks and gatherings with the constituents.
“Chiew is still popular in terms of personality but DAP overall seems to lack local issues and is constantly hitting on national issues and controversies against Federal leaders.
“In the 2011 state elections, they had many local Sarawak issues to harp on. But this time round, Adenan seems to be free from local controversies which DAP could use against BN,” he said.
In Pujut, Barisan direct candidate Datuk Hii King Chiong is using his business influence to good effect in his fight against the DAP candidate Ting Tiong Choon.
The other two candidates – Independent Fong Pau Teck and PAS state commissioner Jofri Jaraiee – are making minimal impact.
The fight will be between Hii and Ting, and it will be close.
In Senadin, incumbent SUPP assemblyman Datuk Lee Kim Shin is being closely challenged by DAP candidate Dr Bob Baru.
Both candidates have been very active in their campaigning but Lee is more established as he is well-known among the Senadin population as being hardworking and productive.
His other opponent – Independent Philemon John Edan – is not making much impact.
In Piasau, SUPP secretary-general Datuk Sebastian Ting is struggling against DAP secretary Alan Ling Sie Kiong in a straight fight.
Ting prefers low-key campaign tactics like house-to-house visits and small scale communal gatherings.
Ling, on the other hand, has been going around Miri on the DAP Ubah truck to deliver bombastic public ceramahs.
He has been drawing big crowds daily and he has been banging on about national issues as well as hitting out against Adenan.
Ling is the incumbent assemblyman. In 2011, he defeated the-then SUPP president Tan Sri Dr George Chan by about 1,900 votes.
Ting, meanwhile, is a popular figure as he is known to be friendly, humble, caring, and has done good things for the community as Piasau SUPP branch chairman.
SUPP information chief Adam Yii on Monday told The Star that it is a good sign at this stage that the party is still in a close race with the DAP.
“DAP has not established a big lead against any SUPP candidates .
“So there is still a decent chance for SUPP. We are hopeful of doing well,” he said.However, SUPP needs to be extra cautious because DAP is known for its ability to finish very strongly, especially on the last day.
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