KUCHING, April 12 — Former Perlis mufti Datuk Dr Juanda Jaya and Federation of Orang Ulu Associations president Datuk Gerawat Jala are among the nine new faces named as the Barisan Nasional (BN) candidates announced by Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem today for the upcoming state elections.
Juanda, 44, will contest in Jemoreng, replacing Abu Seman Jahwie while Gerawat will be fielded in Mulu, one of the 11 new seats in the state assembly.
Associate Professor Dr Jeniri Amir of Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, when contacted by Malay Mail Online, said the selection of Juanda as the BN candidate for Jemoring is appropriate.
"He is very knowledgeable and vast experience on Islamic matters and a person with moderate views," he said, adding that Juanda is also very approachable and well-liked by Muslims and non-Muslims alike.
"I am not surprised if he is appointed as an assistant minister in charge of Islamic affairs after the elections, provided that he win," he said, adding that he was hoping for Juanda to stand in the Balingian by-election on the BN's ticket in 2014.
He said he is confident that Islamic scholar will win in Jemoreng because of his track record.
Juanda was the Perlis mufti from 2008 to 2014. He is now the deputy president of the Sarawak Islamic Council.
Juanda and five other candidates named by Adenan today are from Parti Pesaka Bumiputra Bersatu (PBB) while Gerawat, 59, Miro Simuh, 40, (Serembu), and John Ilus, 52, (Bukit Semuja), will contest as candidates directly under the BN banner.
Apart from Juanda, the other from PBB are lawyer Datuk Idris Buang, 62 (Muara Tuang), Awla Idris, 54, (Simunjan), Shafiee Ahmad, 46, (Daro), Mohd Chee Kadir, 63, (Kabong) and Jefferson Jamit Unyat, 58, (Bukit Goram).'
"With the announcement, 70 BN candidates have already been named. We will announce the names of another 12 more candidates for the Barisan at a later date," Adenan told reporters today.
He said those picked to contest as direct candidates must resign from the parties they are in now before nomination day.
"They must be without any party as a condition to stand as direct candidates. After the elections, if they win, they are free to join one of the four State Barisan component parties," he said, adding that there is nothing to stop them from joining PBB, which is fielding 40 out of 82 Barisan candidates in the elections.
"We will not stop them if they want to join us. The important thing is they must join a Barisan party," he added.