BAU: Mas Gading Independent Datuk Dr Tiki Lafe admitted deciding to contest only at the eleventh hour and that it has been a surreal experience for him till today.
He said it was never his intention to go against a Barisan Nasional chosen candidate but was forced to do so after much shoving from the grassroots.
“I never planned to go against a Barisan official candidate. It was a last-minute decision. I shocked many of my friends in politics and even myself. I’ve asked myself why am I doing this but then the ground anger was very real,” he told The Star while campaigning in Kampung Suba Bandar here on Sunday night.
According to him, his supporters had made it very clear that if he was not picked to represent Barisan, they would vote for the DAP instead even though they were Barisan supporters at heart.
Dr Tiki, a three-term MP in Mas Gading, said the grassroots would vote for the DAP as a protest against Barisan’s component, SPDP, which held the Mas Gading seat.
“It is not because they (supporters) like the DAP. It’s just that they believe the opposition party is strong enough to defeat the Barisan here. But they only allow DAP to take over for one term and after that they would switch back to Barisan. That was what they told me.
“However, to me, we cannot take chances. Five years is too long and anything can happen during the period,” he said.
As such, he took it upon himself to offer an alternative to the Barisan voters by standing as an independent candidate, he added.
He conceded it (contesting) was a huge risk to take as he could lose everything, including his position in Barisan, if he did not win this election.
Aside from defending the MP post for the area, Dr Tiki is also the National Youth Service Training chairman.
Dr Tiki said if he lost, he could foresee the effect it would have on the Barisan voters aligned to him.
He said these voters would feel they had been side-lined and the repercussion would show in the next state election.
Dr Tiki said the main reason why these voters refused to accept the Barisan chosen candidate, Anthony Nogeh Gumbek, was simply because they were still reeling over how SPDP’s top leaders had treated their elected representatives — himself and Tasik Biru assemblyman Datuk Peter Nansian Ngusie.
He said Barisan had underestimated the anger of the supporters when he, Nansian and the other three assemblymen Datuk Sylvester Entri Muran (Marudi), Rosey Yunus (Bekenu), Paulus Palu Gumbang (Batu Danau) were sacked from SPDP in 2011 after being embroiled in a bitter feud with party president Tan Sri William Mawan.
He said the people would translate this dissatisfaction by voting against Nansian and the three others come the next state polls.
“All this while I never thought myself as an opposition although people may perceive me that way, now that I am contesting as an independent. “But I started with the Barisan and I will die with the Barisan, politically that is,” he added.-thestar online