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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

A BY-ELECTION FIGHT THAT WILL SHAKEUP SARAWAK’S CHINESE: DAP STRONGMAN ALAN TING GETS READY TO DEFEND ‘ILLEGALLY DISQUALIFIED’ PUJUT SEAT

DAP is planning to turn to the courts with the hope of overturning the disqualification of Dr Ting Tiong Choon as the assemblyperson for Pujut in Sarawak.
However, the Election Commission has fixed July 3 for a by-election and June 20 for candidates to file their nomination papers.
Should DAP fail to obtain a court verdict by then, the party’s Plan B is to field a high-ranking state leader in the by-election.
And one of the names speculated is Sarawak DAP secretary Alan Ling (left in photo above, with wife and child).
According to a party source, the Sarawak DAP leadership has reached consensus to nominate the 34-year-old lawyer.
“Our stand is to fight the case in court. If we fail, Ling has the highest chance of being nominated,” the source told Malaysiakini.
The source said DAP would sue Sarawak State Assembly Speaker Mohd Asfia Awang Nassar next week on the decision to disqualify Ting over the allegation that he holds an Australian citizenship.
However, Sarawak DAP chief Chong Chieng Jen chose to keep the cards close to his chest when queried about speculation concerning Ling’s nomination.
“We will announce it later,” the Bandar Kuching MP told Malaysiakini.
Ling dismisses speculation
On the other hand, Ling, when contacted, dismissed the speculation.
In the 2011 state election, Ling, who is the Piasau DAP branch chief, stunned Sarawak when he defeated then deputy chief minister George Chan, who was also the SUPP chairperson.
However, Ling was defeated in the 2016 state election by SUPP secretary-general Sebastian Ting by a majority of 2,112 votes.
Piasau and Pujut are under the Miri parliamentary constituency.
There are 20,078 voters, comprising 68 percent Chinese, 19.5 percent Muslim bumiputera and 12.5 percent non-Muslim bumiputera in Pujut.
The Pujut by-election was called after the Sarawak state assembly on May 12 voted 70-10 in favour of the then incumbent’s removal.
This was after the state’s Finance Minister II Wong Soon Koh (BN-Bawang Assan) moved a motion against Ting (photo) over the dual citizenship issue.
Since then, DAP has organised several fund-raising dinners to face the by-election.
Both Ling and Ting were present at last night’s dinner, themed ‘Light up democracy in Pujut’, together with DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng.
On the BN side, SUPP is locking horns with its splinter party UPP to contest in the Pujut seat.
In the 2016 state election, BN fielded direct candidate Hii King Chieng from UPP to contest the seat.
Following Hii’s refusal to contest again, UPP president Wong Soon Koh reportedly said the party has submitted a list of potential candidates to the Sarawak BN leadership.
However, SUPP president Dr Sim Kui Hian has insisted that the candidate should come from his party because UPP had lost the last time around.
In an obvious reference to UPP, Sim said should a non-BN party intend to represent the ruling coalition in the forthcoming polls, that party must first join SUPP to be considered.
In the last polls, DAP’s Ting won the Pujut seat with a 1,759 vote-majority.
MKINI

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