BETONG, March 21 — Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Alfred Jabu Numpang will not be defending Layar, the seat he has held since 1974, when the state elections roll around later this year.
Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem who made the announcement at a leader-meet-the-people session in the Debak community hall near here today, said he will let Jabu name his successor for Layar.
“I will let him do that at an appropriate time,” he said.
Adenan also announced Federal Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas will contest the Bukit Saban seat, replacing Assistant Minister of Welfare Lawson Chuat.
Uggah, 60, a senior PBB vice-president, is also Betong MP and is seen as the likeliest person to replace Jabu, 76, as the next Sarawak deputy chief minister if he wins in the state election.
Adenan, who is also PBB president and State BN chairman, also announced that Simoi Peri will defend her Lingga seat and Mohd Razi Sitam defend his Saribas state seats.
On Jabu’s decision to quit politics, the chief minister said it is a sad day for PBB and Sarawak when one of its longest-serving leaders chose to make way for younger leaders.
“I know him for a long time and he has served the party and Sarawak with dedication,” Adenan said of Jabu, who has served as deputy to three chief ministers: Tun Abdul Rahman Ya’kub, Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud and himself as the incumbent.
He said he considered Jabu as not just a PBB leader but also a good friend.
Jabu, in his speech, said the time has come for him to let young blood take over from him.
He also expressed gratitude to PBB leaders for having confidence in him all this while.
“I am always thankful to them,” he said.
Jabu entered politics when he contested and won unopposed in a by-election for the Skrang-Engkilili seat in 1973 on a Sarawak Alliance ticket and during the 1974 state elections, he defeated former Chief Minister Tan Sri Stephen Kalong Ningkan in Layar.
In 1976, Jabu was appointed deputy chief minister, a post he has held until today.