I’m the ‘winner’ so far, says STAR candidate

Johnny on his campaign trail in Lundu.

Johnny on his campaign trail in Lundu.

LUNDU: State Reform Party Sarawak (STAR) candidate Johnny Bob Aput claims that he has “won” the Tanjong Datu by-election as he has managed to indirectly bring in RM1.3 billion to the constituency.

“If I don’t stand, the BN government will not have announced that huge amount for the people here. So I think I have won the by-election,” Johnny said in jest during a meeting with The Borneo Post at Lundu Town earlier today.

He stressed that even though he did not bring the RM1.3 billion to Tanjong Datu himself, he believed that his willingness to offer himself as a candidate against the BN has allowed the BN government to reveal the actual amount of allocation poured into the district in the last two years.

“I am very happy to offer myself as a candidate as it denied the BN a walkover. In a way, I also brought business to the people here during the last two weeks,” he said, adding that a large number of people from outside Lundu have come to campaign, especially for the BN.

Johnny, from Paon Gahat, said this was his third attempt in the elections. His first one was against the BN in Serian in the 2013 general election and the second one was last year’s state election when he stood in Bukit Semuja, also in Serian district.

He revealed that STAR had actually identified a candidate for Tanjong Datu but the person decided not to stand three days before Nomination Day.

“As the chairman of the party, I have to lead the party and decided to stand here,” he added.

Johnny is locking horns with BN candidate Datin Patinggi Datuk Amar Jamilah Anu and Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS) Baru candidate Rapelson Richard Hamid.

Rapelson, a social activist, has reiterated that his main area of contention was for the recognition of the native customary rights (NCR) land especially on “pemakai menoa” and “pulau galau”, which have been ruled by the Federal Court recently as having no force of law.

In the last state election held in May last year, the late Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem defeated PKR candidate Jazolkipli Numan with a majority of 5,892 votes. He polled 6,360 votes against Jozolfipli’s 468 votes.

Tanjong Datu has a total of 9,957 registered voters with the Malays as the majority with 5,498 voters, followed by the Ibans with 1,763 voters, Chinese (1,646 voters) and the Bidayuhs (1,050 voters).