Sarawak’s Batang Ai state seat by-election will see a straight fight between the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) and Barisan Nasional. Former five-term MP for Lubok Antu, Jawah Gerang, of PKR is to face BN candidate Malcolm Mussen .
Johnny Chuat, an Iban blogger and publisher of an Iban magazine, who entererd the nomination centre at about 9am failed to submit his papers as an independent.
Coming out of the centre, he wore a PKR shirt and met his supporters, telling them to support Jawah Gerang.
There were some tense moments when objections were raised against the two candidates, but the returning officer, Nelson Mujah Girie overruled the objections and accepted both nominations.
The returning officer made the announcement at 11.30am.
The large crowd estimated at 10,000 exchanged friendly taunting, but there were a few tense moments among the PKR supporters when the police started to seize PAS flags.
PKR Dominique Ng intervened and talked to a senior police officer. Later Ng told Malaysiakini that the police refused to allow PAS flags to be displayed at the field among the DAP and PKR crowd.
‘Dayakism in action’
The police told Ng that PAS was not a participating party in the by-election and according to the rules of the Election Commission, any party which was not involved should not be allowed to join the crowd displaying its flags.
Ng told the police that if that was the case, then SUPP, SPDP and PBB should also not be allowed to display their flags. But the police replied that they were parties in the Barisan Nasional, whereas Pakatan Rakyat (PR) was not a registerd body.
After a long argument, the police allowed the PAS contingent to join its partners, saying that it was all a miscommunication.
A former senior BN leader commented on the number of so many Dayak lawyers present at the nomination centre to support the PKR…it shows “Dayakism in action”.
Many ordinary Dayaks from professionals down to rural dwellers have taken a greater interest in the Dayaks’ political predicament while using PKR as the main vehicle to articulate their fears and hopes.