Tuesday, 30 April 2013

GE13: Incumbent rides the crest of community sentiments

BAU: Lone ranger and SPDP-reject, Datuk Dr Tiki Lafe, who is Mas Gading independent candidate, is not to be underestimated. Period.

This appears to be the signal from the ground reflecting the general mood of many voters in the constituency.

The Key (Dr Tiki’s symbol), therefore, must be taken seriously by other contenders for the seat as the partlyless doctor sets the campaign trail ablazing.

Last Sunday night he spoke at a rally at Kampung Suba Bandar here where a sizeable crowd of supporters donned “Kami Sokong Tiki” (We support Tiki) t-shirts. The crowd filled the village community hall and the surrounding compound and kept punctuating the proceedings with their shouts of “May 5, Undi kunci!” (May 5, vote for the key!).

Prior to the three-term MP’s speech in which he passionately appealed for support, a few community heads and councillors also took to the microphone to shed some light on why support should be given to Dr Tiki.

Among the most notable common points of persuasion was that Dr Tiki was one of their own and that it was not right for SPDP to have sacked him while he was their elected representative.

They were referring to the sacking of Dr Tiki and Tasik Biru assemblyman Datuk Peter Nansian Ngusie from SPDP in 2011.

It was apparent that the squabble between these representatives and SPDP’s top leaders was still fresh in their minds.

Dr Tiki later told The Star that the response was similar in other villages on his campaign trail.

“I’ve been to so many areas already from Sematan to Lundu and Biawak. The overall response has been very good. The recent one in Kampung Daun alone pulled in a crowd of around 500. That’s a lot for a village.

“My campaigns focus on manageable crowd size because we want to be heard properly and effectively, and also for security reasons. But we are planning a big event in Serikin and Serasot nearing the end of the campaign. We target to attract a thousand people in each of these two venues,” he said.

In his speech, he said that he and Nansian had forged a strong connection between the Mas Gading people and the government, but all had changed after they became partyless.

“Our friends in politics look at us differently now and its sad because it just shakes the relationship of the Bidayuh people with the government,” he said.

He said this relationship should be strengthened and he would work to do so despite being an independent candidate.

He assured that his heart was and would always be with Barisan.

He also assured the community heads and councillors aligned to him that their positions would not be jeopardised just because they were supporting him.

He explained that the Barisan top leadership understood that they were simply exercising their rights and all they wanted was to be united with the coalition through the leaders of their choice.

“Barisan will not simply fire people especially when it understands what is really going on. It understands the feelings of the people on the ground,” he said.

“If you simply throw the people out, come state election, they would throw you out. So we want to ensure that Barisan still holds Mas Gading even if it means using an alternative route.”

A Dr Tiki supporter and one of the speakers for that night, Charles Locklin, said that they were Barisan supporters who did not mean to offend anyone but were merely exercising their democratic rights in their own way, which may or may not be palatable to certain people.

“The people do not see Dr Tiki as an opposition. They still see him as a Barisan man, which he is. His only shortcoming is that he is partyless. We just want to show that our choice is Dr Tiki and how disappointed we are by the way he and Datuk Nansian had been treated by SPDP,” he said.

Charles, who is a an ex-councillor from Singai, Bau, said Dr Tiki had done a lot for the people of Mas Gading.

He said Dr Tiki and Nansian were well-liked by the people because they were not vindictive and often responded in times of need.

Asked about the risk that he and others were taking by supporting Dr Tiki, he said it would be even riskier to create a chance for DAP to win by fielding a candidate who was less popular.

“If DAP wins, then we will lose out. But the way we see things is, if SPDP and DAP lose, and Dr Tiki wins, then Barisan still wins,” he said.-thestar online

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