Sarawak Reform Party's (Star) candidate for the Tanjong Datu by-election has conceded that he will likely lose, but his candidacy was necessary.
In a statement today, Johnny Bob Aput said denying BN a walkover would force the coalition to make more pledges to bring development to the constituency.
Comparing his party to a "kampung football team" that is up against the formidable Barcelona Football Club, Johnny Bob admitted that the best his party could hope for is to at least retain its deposit.
"We know Star would almost certainly lose our election deposits, but if this sacrifice of ours can bring more developments to Tanjong Datu, so be it.
"Just wait, during campaigning, you'll see the chief minister, Sarawak ministers, federal minister and Prime Minister Najib Razak himself coming down to Tanjong Datu to fish for votes by promising a lot of new progress and development projects.
"Once again, Star can't simply let BN win uncontested. By having BN win that way, the rakyat in Tanjong Datu won't get any new projects and developments. So being contesting this by-election, Sar will almost certainly lose, but the rakyat here will be the ultimate winner," he said.
None of the major opposition parties are contesting in the by-election. The by-election will see a three-corner fight between BN's Jamilah Anu, Star's Johnny Bob and Parti Bangsa Dayak Sarawak Baru’s (PDBSB) Rapelson Richard Hamit.
The by-election was called following the passing of the late Sarawak Chief Minister and Tanjong Datu assemblyperson Adenan Satem, who is also Jamilah’s husband, on Jan 11.
During the 2016 Sarawak state election, Adenan won in a straight fight against PKR’s Jazolkipli Numan. Adenan crushed his opponent after garnering 6,360 votes against Jazolkipli's 468 votes. This was Adenan’s first state election since becoming chief minister in 2014.
This time around, PKR had opted to sit out of the contest. It’s Sarawak chief Baru Bian said this is to focus the party’s attention on the 14th general election, and is also to give the state government a chance to implement Adenan’s promises.
However, Johnny Bob slammed PKR and its ally DAP for not fielding candidates in the by-election.
“If they really care for the people, then they should have not let BN win uncontested, even if the people in Tanjong Datu are hardcore BN supporters.
“How can they attract support from the people if they don’t even care about the people’s welfare? How can they blame the locals for continuing to support BN when they themselves never bothered to contest?” he said.- Mkini