Sarawak polls: GPS coalition to field 24 new names out of 82

GPS chairman Tan Sri Abang Johari Openg (seated, centre) speaks at a news conference in Kuching, Sarawak December 3, 2021. — Picture by Sulok Tawie
GPS chairman Tan Sri Abang Johari Openg (seated, centre) speaks at a news conference in Kuching, Sarawak December 3, 2021. — Picture by Sulok Tawie

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KUCHING, Dec 3 — The four-party Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) coalition today announced the names of its 82 candidates for the 82 seats in the coming 12th state election with a few surprises.

Nearly 30 per cent of the candidates, or 24 people, are first timers for the state election.

Among them is Azizul Annuar, the son of the late Tan Sri Adenan Satem who was the former chief minister, for Tanjung Datu.

Other state election newbies include Kuching City South Council Mayor Datuk Wee Hong Seng in Padungan, Miri City Council Mayor Adam Yii in Pujut, and Progessive Democratic Party (PDP) president Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing in Dudong.

Tiong is already Bintulu MP but this is his first time running for a state seat.

Newcomer Nicholas Kudi will run for Baleh, which was the stronghold of former deputy chief minister Tan Sri James Masing who died on October 31 after contracting Covid-19.

GPS chairman Tan Sri Abang Johari Openg will not be defending his urban seat in Satok this time. Instead, he has chosen to run in rural Gedong, replacing incumbent Datuk Naroden Majais who declined to seek re-election.

Abang Johari’s place in Satok is taken over by businessman and Satok PBB branch deputy chairman Datuk Ibrahim Baki.

Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) president Datuk Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian will defend his Batu Kawah seat and secretary-general Datuk Sebastian Ting will remain in Piasau.

PBB deputy president and Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Douglas Uggah will defend his Bukit Saban seat.

Likewise, another Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Awang Tengah Ali Hasan will defend his Bukit Sari seat.

GPS will also be fielding four women candidates, including newcomer Dayang Noorazah Awang Sohor in Lingga.

Abang Johari said the main criterion for the candidates were their loyalty.

“It is very important,” he added.

“A number of our new faces are in their 30s and 40s because we believe that we can train and then expose them to Sarawak-style politics which fights for all the communities, religions and cultures,” he said.

“The youth candidates consist of different backgrounds and professions, and they will guarantee continuity for Sarawak.”

Abang Johari said GPS is using the theme “Sarawak First” for this election as he believes that only Sarawakians know the state’s political landscape.

He said GPS will also be stressing on the digital economy, sustainability and environment in the election.

He said GPS will disclose its election manifesto on December 8, two days after nomination day on December 6.

Polling day is on December 18.

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