Adenan addressing the press conference. At left is Jabu. — Photo by Chimon Upon
KUCHING: State Barisan Nasional (BN) will only announce its candidate for the Balingian by-election after the Election Commission (EC) has set the dates for nomination and polling days.
This was disclosed by Chief Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Adenan Satem yesterday, who said a few names had been submitted for consideration.
Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) is expected to convene its Supreme Council meeting soon to discuss candidacy for the seat.
The Balingian state seat fell vacant following the resignation of incumbent Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud on Feb 28 to assume the post of Yang di-Pertua Negeri, succeeding Tun Datuk Patinggi Abang Muhammad Salahuddin.
The former chief minister received his instrument of appointment as the state’s seventh Head of State from Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah at Istana Negara last Friday. Taib, 78, took his oath of office on Saturday, March 1, at the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) Complex here.
“We are waiting for the Election Commission to announce when is nomination day and when is polling day. We are cautiously confident that we can win the by-election in Balingian as we have won it so many times before. The people (there) still keep faith with us.
“A few names have been submitted to me. I will discuss it with my senior colleagues in BN and PBB especially, who is the most suitable person. In due time, we will announce the candidate and so on,” Adenan told a press conference at the DUN complex here yesterday, which was also attended by Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Alfred Jabu Numpang.
Earlier, Adenan witnessed the swearing-in of state cabinet members, which saw the posts of Second Deputy Chief Minister and Special Functions Minister left vacant.
Adenan was also asked to comment on speculations that the Balingian by-election would be a crowded affair, with up to seven independent candidates eyeing the seat.
He light-heartedly responded: “Independents are free to contest wherever they want but we (BN) cannot guarantee that they would not lose their deposits.”
Taib’s eldest son Dato Sri Mahmud Abu Bekir and former federal minister Dato Sri Mohamad Effendi Norwawi were among the earlier front-runners tipped to be BN candidates for the seat.
Others were Mukah-born Adrian Alphonsus Dolhat who is an engineer, Perlis Mufti Datuk Dr Juanda Jaya, former permanent secretary of the Tourism Ministry Akit Sebli, chief executive officer of Land Custody and Development Authority (LCDA) Datu Dr Sulaiman Husaini, government officer Dr Anthony Valentine Laiseh and businessman Paul Druce.
In the 2011 state election, Taib, who had been the assemblyman for Balingian since 2001, secured 6,210 votes against independent candidate Datuk Salleh Jafaruddin who polled 1,056 votes and PKR’s Suriati Abdullah who garnered 871 votes.
State PKR vice chairman See Chee How said recently the party had identified two potential candidates for the by-election.
The EC is to convene a special meeting on March 6 to discuss the Balingian seat. The meeting to be held at the commission’s headquarters in Putrajaya will be chaired by its chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof. - theborneopost