Friday, April 16, 2010

Sibu Parliamentary By-Election: It's May 16!

Sibu voters will go to the polls on May 16 after an eight-day campaign with nomination day being set for May 8, announced the Election Commission today.

When asked about the possibility of opposition leaders being barred from entering the state in the run up to the polls, Abdul Aziz washed his hands off the issue, saying that the matter is not under the commission's purview.

"It is a matter for the state government and the immigration department. It is not the EC's responsibility," he said.

"I'm sure (the immigration department) have their own reasons. But as far as the EC is concerned, Malaysians should be free to move around from one state to another."

PKR leaders R Sivarasa and N Gobalakrishnan were, on separate occasions, barred from entering the state in 2009 and 2008 respectively.

Abdul Aziz named Sibu district officer Wong See Meng the returning officer, with two enforcement teams for each of the three state seats under the parliamentary constituency. They will monitor campaigning to ensure that no laws are broken under the Elections Act.

The electoral roll updated on April 9 indicate a total of 53,679 voters with a Chinese majority of 60 per cent. There is also a large concentration of Melanau (20%), Iban (18%), Orang Ulu (1.1%) and other races (0.9%).

The deceased Robert Lau, who had been Sibu MP under the Sarawak United People’s Party (Supp) flag for five terms since 1990, won by a majority of 3,235 votes with 19,138 votes against DAP's Wong Ho Leng who garnered 15,903 votes and PKR's Lim Chin Chuang with 812 votes.

SUPP has already named Robert Lau's cousin, Lau Hui Yew as its candidate who is already very actively moving on the ground. DAP has yet to name its candidate though leading contenders are state chief YB Wong Ho Leng, Sibu women chief Alice Lau and ex-SUPP Wong Chin Yong. The decision is expected to be made known when PR leaders meet in Sibu this Sunday.

Regardless, whoever is chosen to represent DAP will face a tough fight as BN's 3M - Money, Men and Machinery - will rain upon Sibu like manna from heaven. Why is it that only when an election is imminent, suddenly the government springs to life, flooding the constituency with funds, grants, projects and what you will. Sigh.

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