KUCHING: State Reform Party (STAR) president Lina Soo yesterday justified STAR’s heavy defeat in the Feb 18 Tanjong Datu by-election by suggesting that they were trying to uphold democracy.
“We upheld the spirit of democracy, believing in the right of the voters to choose their representative. Even one dissenting vote is the voice of protest clearly heard,” she said.
STAR candidate Johnny Bob Aput secured only 108 votes but Soo said his participation in the by-election had denied Barisan Nasional (BN) 100 per cent victory.
“We denied BN a 100 per cent victory, which could have been up from 92.2 per cent,” she touted.
However, Soo acknowledged that the winners in the by election, which was called after the demise of its incumbent and former Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem, were the constituents of Tanjong Datu.
“They received a bonanza of one Prime Minister’s visit, two deputy prime minister’s visits and also that of top guns of
BN who altogether pledged RM1.5 billion worth of projects for Lundu and also pledged RM8 million worth of development for Tanjong Datu (before the election),” she said.
“The water supply project is especially valued instead of giving blue ‘tangki’ (water tanks) as the right to clean water is a basic need. Village roads were (also) upgraded. The local economy boomed. Seafood restaurants, resort hotels, kopitiam (coffee shops) were full. People also learned of big prawn mee and Lundu and Sematan can expect more tourists for its seafood and beaches,” she admitted.
But she insisted that STAR would continue to serve the people by monitoring pledges made and promises uttered during the election campaign.
She added that her party would continue to fight for the rights of Sarawakians as stated in the Malaysia Agreement.
BN’s Datin Patinggi Datuk Amar Jamilah Anu, Adenan’s widow, not only beat Johnny but also Rapelson Richard Hamit of Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak Baru.
Jamilah polled 6,573 votes while Rapelson only managed to get 130 votes and Johnny received 108 votes, causing both to lose their deposit.