KUCHING: Dalat district officer Yussibnosh Balo, who is among those speculated to contest in the Balingian by-election, said he has yet to be approached by Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) on the matter.
However, the local-born from Kpg Tellian said he is ready to take on the task if given the chance. Yussibnosh, who is in his late 40s, added that he was not surprised at the speculations, being well aware that his name was bandied around as a potential candidate.
“Yes, I am aware that I’m among those that have been mentioned (as PBB candidate) but I cannot comment further on the matter for now as I have yet to receive any confirmation.
“Furthermore, there have yet to be any meeting between me and the party’s top leadership and the president in particular. If this is anything to go by, I was approached by police officers from the Special Branch unit in middle February,” he told the media when contacted yesterday without revealing further details.
He is currently taking leave to attend to personal matters here. When asked for his reaction if he is not picked to contest, Yussibnosh mentioned that he will accept whatever decision with an open heart without any regrets.
Chief Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Adenan Satem announced Wednesday that PBB would field a local Melanau-Christian for the Balingian by-election, honouring a long term ‘gentlemen’s agreement’ that has been established with the community since 1963.
Adenan, who is PBB president, said the candidate is a local-born Melanau Christian and well known to the local people. However, the identity of the candidate will only be revealed in Mukah this Saturday by Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
As Adenan kept the age of the candidate under wraps, words from the grapevine have it that the candidate could be Mukah-born engineer Adrian Langi Dorhat, former permanent secretary of the Tourism Ministry Akit Sebli, government officer Dr Anthony Valentine Laiseh, businessman Paul Druce or Yussibnosh.
The fielding of a Christian candidate will fulfil the ‘gentlemen’s agreement’ between the Christian Melanaus and their Muslim counterparts since Independence that one of the three elected representatives in Mukah area should be a Christian from the local community.
The Balingian state seat comes under the Mukah parliamentary constituency which also houses Dalat.
Mukah MP Dato Sri Dr Muhammad Leo Michael Toyad embraced Islam several years ago while Dalat assemblywoman Datuk Fatimah Abdullah is a Muslim.
The Balingian seat fell vacant following the resignation of incumbent Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud on Feb 28 to take up his appointment as the state’s seventh Yang di-Pertua Negeri on March 1. In the 2011 state election, Taib won Balingian seat with a 5,154 vote-majority in a three-cornered fight.
Election Commission (EC) chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Yusof announced last Thursday that the Balingian state constituency has a total of 13,366 registered voters including 133 early voters eligible to cast their rights this by-election. EC has set March 17 for nomination day and March 29 for polling, in the event of a contest. - theborneopost