LUNDU: The Tanjong Datu by-election will see a three-cornered fight between Barisan Nasional and two local Opposition parties after the nomination of an independent candidate was rejected.
Puan Sri Jamilah Anu, the widow of the late chief minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem, will face land rights activist Rapelson Richard Hamit of PBDS Baru and State Reform Party Sarawak’s (STAR) Johnny Aput.
Independent candidate Asbor Abdullah, 67, who contested in eight state and general elections previously, found himself unlucky this time around.
Returning officer Hamsein Atar rejected his nomination after he was found to be a bankrupt.
Asbor also did not submit his financial statement from the previous election he contested in to the Election Commission.
Hamsein announced the candidates about 15 minutes after the nomination period closed at 10am at the community hall here yesterday.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who is Barisan deputy chairman, said Jamilah was Barisan’s best candidate who would continue the legacy of the late Adenan.
“We are confident that the Tanjong Datu constituents will give their support to the state Barisan under the new leadership of Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg.
“Jamilah’s nomination represents the continuous delivery of quality service by the Barisan Government to the people,” he told reporters.
Dressed in black, Jamilah was accompanied by a sizeable crowd of Barisan supporters who gathered at the nearby Lundu district mosque from 8am, before walking to the nomination centre.
Rapelson said PBDS Baru wanted to provide a platform for the people to voice out when fighting for native customary land rights.
The 31-year-old stood on Amanah’s ticket in last year’s state polls in Gedong, but lost to Datuk Naroden Majais.
Johnny, 54, who previously contested in two elections, said he was fighting for the people’s rights and providing another platform for the people to voice their grouses.
The Election Commission expects the Tanjong Datu by-election to proceed smoothly based on Sarawak’s good track record in past elections.
During a press conference at the community hall here, after nominations closed yesterday, EC chairman Datuk Seri Mohd Hashim Abdullah said Sarawak was well-known for being calm and peaceful during election time.
Hashim said the Commission was projecting a 75% turnout for the by-election, up from 70% in the last state election.
He also said that results were expected by 8pm on Feb 18.
“The total number of registered voters in Tanjong Datu is 9,959, it is not that high.
“There will be 27 polling streams in 17 polling stations, so we expect counting to be quick,” he said.
In addition, he said the Commission had appointed 15 election observers from Persatuan Kebangsaan Melayu Sarawak, Orang Ulu National Association and Pertubuhan Kumpulan Sukarelawan Inovatif.
Polling has been set for Feb 18 and early voting on Feb 12.