By John Isaac
PARTI Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) Bawang Assan chairman Romeo Christopher Tegong has denied offering himself as a candidate for the Bawang Assan seat following rumours that the party will be vying for it in the coming state polls.
“I have never declared my intention to contest in Bawang Assan. People did ask me whether I am going to but I said not likely, not unless our Chief Minister asked me to do so, only then I will be willing to go for it.
“But until now, there is no instruction,” he told The Borneo Post when contacted over PBB vice president Dr Annuar Rapaee’s remark that it was ‘highly unlikely’ that PBB will contest in Bawang Assan.
Responding to claims that PBB might contest the seat, Dr Annuar had told reporters on Monday that it was mere speculation as Bawang Assan had always been allocated to the Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) by the state’s ruling coalition.
Agreeing with Dr Annuar, Romeo said the rumour that PBB would contest in the seat carried no weight.
He said his branch would fully support the candidate endorsed by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, who also heads the state’s ruling coalition, Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS).
“The Chief Minister may already have in mind the winnable candidate for Bawang Assan. Whoever is the candidate, we will give our fullest support to ensure that the candidate will win it for GPS,” he said.
He added that PBB Bawang Assan, with about 3,000 members, was ready for the election.
“We have four sub-branches and are ever ready to face the challenges in Bawang Assan.”
Romeo said GPS must win Bawang Assan and it did not matter which component party the chosen candidate belongs to.
“To win the seat, we need to stay united and especially among members of the GPS component parties.”
Romeo said this coming election would be very challenging for Bawang Assan as Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) president Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh has been the incumbent for almost 30 years.
“But with the good track record of GPS, we are confident that the people will know who to choose during the election.
“It is not for me to judge but for the almost 20,000 eligible voters in Bawang Assan to judge for themselves who will be the best candidate when the time comes.”
Wong has represented Bawang Assan since winning the seat on the SUPP ticket in 1991.
Following a leadership tussle, the former state cabinet minister quit the party in 2014 and formed United People’s Party (UPP) which was rebranded as PSB in 2019.