STAR candidate happy if he doesn’t lose deposit

Johnny on his campaign trail in Lundu.

Johnny on his campaign trail in Lundu.

LUNDU: STAR candidate Johnny Aput will be satisfied if he gets 10 per cent of the votes in the Tanjong Datu by-election and does not lose his deposit.

He admitted that to get beyond that would be an uphill task as Tanjong Datu is a solid BN stronghold.

“If I just get 10 per cent of the total votes that will be great, as I think there is just no way I can see myself able to turn the table against BN as Tanjong Datu is a BN stronghold and its candidate was able to get more than 90 per cent votes in past elections,” Johnny told The Borneo Post here yesterday.

To ensure that he does not lose his deposit, he has travelled quite extensively since nomination day to various villages in the constituency.

“I am running in this by-election to give awareness of the rights of Sarawakians. So I hope that my presence here will create that awareness. I know the BN will definitely win but this is a democratic country. So everyone has the right to contest (provided we are eligible),” he stressed.

Johnny, a Bidayuh who hails from Kpg Paon Rimu in Serian, reiterated that his aim is to highlight the seemingly slow progress in the talks between the Sarawak and the federal governments on the decentralisation of power which has been taken away from the state over the years.

“Many people asked me why I decided to stand here when I am not from here. But I tell them that I am standing under STAR ticket which allows me to stand anywhere in Sarawak,” he explained.

He hoped the people of Tanjong Datu will vote for him as he represents the whole movement which wants to see greater autonomy for Sarawak.

“Even the state government is also seeking greater autonomy from the federal government. But STAR as a state-based opposition party will keep reminding the people of our rights that we must ask back from the federal government,” 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 is the recognition of native customary rights (NCR) land, especially on the practice of ‘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, BN through 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 Malays forming the majority (5,498 voters); followed by Ibans (1,763 voters); Chinese (1,646 voters) and Bidayuhs (1,050 voters).