Sarawak Polls: Local boy Royston wears his heart on his sleeves in the battle for Tellian

MUKAH: Heavily involved in community work, as well as in youth, sports and education, Royston Valentine (pic), the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) candidate for the Tellian seat in the upcoming Sarawak state election, has big development plans for the constituency, which he describes as the ‘heart’ of the Mukah division.

The 35-year-old Kampung Petanak local, better known as just Roy in these parts, believes he has got what it takes to understand the needs of the locals and bring about changes in the area.

"Some may think I’m a bit too young, but I feel I’ve had enough field experience. Contributing to society here should not be a problem,” Royston, who is in a four-cornered contest, said.

The Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) youth wing supreme council member will be up against PKR’s Mohd Arwin Lim Abdullah, 34; Zainuddin Budug, 56, of Parti Bumi Kenyalang (PBK) and Sait Junaidi, 57, representing Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB).

Determined to continue development plans already lined up for the constituency, Royston who was once a temporary teacher at SK Parish, Balingian, said education was one of the areas which would be given focus if he was elected assemblyman, which augurs well as there are quite a number of tertiary institutions in Tellian.

The Business Administration degree holder said he was determined to ensure youths in the constituency are able to further their studies as he believes a community that does not want to be left behind must prioritise education.

Royston describes the Tellian constituency as the ‘heart’ of Mukah as it is strategically located right in the central part of the division with tertiary institutions, schools and an airport all within easy reach.

He promised to resolve socio-economic issues, saying that the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic was still being felt by Tellian locals, including among its entrepreneurs and petty traders.

The election ‘newbie’ will also ensure there are good internet facilities to facilitate e-commerce and learning activities.

Royston is one of the founders of the Mukah Activity Centre and has been very involved in community work since 2007, going on to win Sarawak’s Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports’ State Youth Award in 2017.

He also won the state-level National Youth Premier Award (Men's Individual Category) by the Youth and Sports Ministry in 2018 and was recently appointed vice-president of the Sarawak Football Association (FAS) for his involvement in the Mukah FA team as team manager.

A member of the Malaysian Youth Parliament from 2014 to 2016, Royston said GPS’ ability to govern Sarawak well speaks volumes, and he expressed confidence he would be able to defend the Tellian seat for the coalition.

"In addition to campaigning on social media, I will try to meet the voters face-to-face in small groups according to the set standard operating procedures,” he said.

Tellian, which has 10,059 registered voters, is one of the 11 new seats created in a redelineation exercise in 2015, with 60 longhouses and 33 villages located in the constituency.

Some 50 percent of its population are Melanau, Iban (29 per cent) and the rest are Chinese.

In the 11th state election, the seat was won by Yussibnosh Balo on a Barisan Nasional-PBB ticket with a majority of 4,421 votes. - Bernama
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