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Sarawak ruling party won’t make way for Ali Biju to defend Saratok in GE15

KUCHING, Oct 12 — Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) is not amenable to letting incumbent Saratok MP Datuk Ali Biju defend his parliamentary seat on its ticket in the coming general election.

PDP vice-president Datuk Penguang Manggil said the party will be offering its own candidate for the seat to ruling coalition Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS).

“We don’t know what his position is in this coming GE15.

“Whatever it is, we have picked a local boy as our candidate to contest in Saratok. He is from one of the longhouses and is working with a corporate body,” said Penguang who is also the state deputy minister of public health, local government and housing. He said PDP’s preferred candidate has been active in the area for the past few months.

“However, his candidacy has to be endorsed by the GPS leadership and we don’t see any problem with that,” he added.

Penguang was asked if PDP and Ali had an arrangement for the latter to run for Saratok in exchange for his withdrawal from contesting the Krian seat in the last Sarawak election.

“Ali is from the party from Malaya,” he replied. “Our principle is, I think, it is better for a local-based party as what has been said by our premier, that there is no room for any Malayan-based party to contest in general or state elections.

“So we abide by that sort of principle,” Penguang added.

Ali withdrew from contesting Krian mid-way during the campaign in the December 2021 state election, throwing his support for PDP candidate Friday Belik.

After leaving PKR in 2020, Ali joined Parti Pribumi Malaysia Bersatu (Bersatu).

Penguang also said that as far as he understood, Ali was not keen to join PDP, but had wanted to apply to join another component party of GPS.

He said PDP will also nominate Bintulu incumbent MP Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing and Baram incumbent MP Datuk Anyi Ngau to defend their seats in the general election.

He said PDP has picked a new face Lidang Disen, 47, to contest the Mas Gading parliamentary seat.

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