Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Ali Biju keeps his word to campaign for GPS candidate in Krian

If they win, he says, everyone will be happy and 'forget about this strange episode'.

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There were some awkward moments in the Krian constituency when Ali Biju, who had stated his withdrawal from the 12th Sarawak state election but whose name is still on the ballot paper, began campaigning for another candidate in the same seat yesterday.

Ali, the Bersatu incumbent who withdrew from contesting as an independent, kept his word to help Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) candidate Friday Belik by campaigning at four longhouses and asking the constituents not to mark his name on the ballot paper come polling day on Dec 18.

Ali, Friday and Bersatu Sarawak chairman Jaziri Alkaf Abdillah Suffian were all present at the Chunggat Longhouse, Munggu Ubah, about 40 minutes from Pekan Saratok, where Ali delivered his message in Iban to the residents of the longhouse, which is his stronghold.

Ali, who is also Bersatu Sarawak vice-chairman, ended his 40-minute speech by asking his supporters in Krian to support the GPS candidate, saying: “We must make the GPS candidate win, he cannot lose.”

Most of the longhouse residents understood Ali’s purpose and seemed prepared to accept their elected representative’s decision to pull out from the four-cornered contest for the Krian seat.

Asked whether he felt odd campaigning for another candidate in his stronghold, Ali replied: “Yes, but we have to look at the bigger picture for Krian, Saratok and Malaysia. It really felt odd at the start, and the supporters, too, had some difficulty accepting the fact that from being confident of a win, out of the blue, we have withdrawn (from contesting). Yes, it is strange.

“But we have to get over this feeling. I do not feel anything now except the desire to ensure a GPS win. That’s our target, and if we win, we will all be happy and forget about this strange episode,” Ali said.

Ali, who is also deputy energy and natural resources minister, on Monday pulled a shocker after filing his nomination papers as an independent candidate in Krian, going against Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin’s stand that the party would not contest the Sarawak election but would give its full support to GPS candidates instead.

Ali later announced his intention to withdraw from contesting the seat to preserve and strengthen ties between Perikatan Nasional (PN) and GPS. Following this, several GPS leaders also urged Ali to explain his withdrawal to the Krian electorate.

Although Ali’s name officially remains on the ballot paper, the real contest in Krian will now involve Friday, Musa Dinggat of Parti Sarawak Bersatu and Danny Kuan from Parti Bumi Kenyalang.

Meanwhile, Friday said he appreciated Ali’s efforts to campaign for him in his own stronghold, adding that this was an indication of his sincerity.

“Today, both of us explained what happened two or three days ago so as to gain the confidence of his supporters as well as mine in order for them to support GPS in this election,” he said.

Jaziri said Ali’s action showed political maturity as GPS and Bersatu had joined forces to ensure victory for GPS, which is led by Abang Johari Openg.

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