MIRI: Barisan Nasional cannot afford to lose in the upcoming Pujut state seat by-election, even by a slim margin.
Barisan component party, the Sarawak United Peoples Party (SUPP), said a loss for Barisan will be damaging to the coalition.
“There is no choice for Barisan but to win on July 4. We cannot even contemplate losing this by-election.
“That will not be acceptable to Barisan. The whole state and country will be looking at us in Pujut.
“That is the only aim of SUPP in Pujut – to win back the seat that once was part of the party’s stronghold of Miri,” said SUPP president Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian at a gathering of SUPP and other Barisan members here yesterday.
Dr Sim said SUPP has already staked a claim for Pujut, and is preparing to field its candidate there, with Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Openg, who is also Sarawak Barisan chairman, likely to announce Barisan’s candidate on June 18, two days before nomination on June 20.
Abang Johari had continuously maintained that all Barisan component parties must give their full support to the Pujut candidate chosen by the top leadership, in response to the widespread jockeying by some component parties to field their candidates there.
Dr Sim stressed that the month-long run-up to polling day will be the most-difficult month for SUPP.
“The outcome of this by-election is still in our hands. It is not impossible to win in Pujut even though we lost in 2011, while the Barisan direct candidate lost in 2016,” he said.
Dr Sim said Pujut has 28,000 registered voters, with many of them fence-sitters.
“SUPP has 5,600 members in Pujut, other than Barisan component party members there. If every one of us gets one extra vote, we will win Pujut,” he said.
The Pujut seat fell vacant last month when incumbent DAP assemblyman Dr Ting Tiong Choon was disqualified from the state assembly over the status of his citizenship.
Last year, Dr Ting defeated Barisan direct candidate Datuk Hii King Chiong and two others by a margin of 1,759 votes.