Monday February 18, 2013
BN supporters against renomination of incumbent MP as voters want change
By ISAAC ENHAN
MUKAH: Several staunch Barisan Nasional (BN) supporters here want a new candidate to contest in this parliamentary constituency in the coming 13th general election instead of the four-term incumbent Datuk Seri Dr Muhammad Leo Toyad.
This was in response to a suggestion by Chief Minister and state Barisan chairman Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud who expressed preference for Dr Leo when he spoke during a Chinese New Year gathering at a resort near here last Friday.
The chief minister’s preference for Dr Leo apparently was seen either as testing the water or jumping the gun because Prime Minister and Barisan chairman Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has yet to announce Barisan’s list of candidates.
It is said that two other names have been proposed for Mukah seat.
Led by one Siri Dani, members of the group claimed that they were not anti-Barisan but only wanted to see a change of candidate.
Siri also claimed that there were other staunch Barisan supporters in Dalat who were not in favour of Dr Leo, saying that by any measure, “five terms are too long even for a perfect human being”.
To him, the voices of the grassroots must be taken into account as implied by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s 1Malaysia “People first, performance now” slogan.
He said they would be unhappy if the people’s voices in the matter were not heeded and acted on.
“If there is no change of candidate by the leadership as requested by the grassroots, our group might not be able to do much about it (helping Dr Leo to win),” he told reporters here yesterday.
“But don’t underestimate or misread the voters because they could democratically remove the candidate when the time comes, and Barisan would not like the result,” he added.
Siri said it did not matter if the new candidate was a Muslim or non-Muslim, as long as he or she was from PBB.
He stressed that gone were the days when voters would always support Barisan without really judging the candidate because nowadays many voters, especially the young, were more educated, demanding and discerning.
Regarding Dr Leo’s performance, Siri claimed that in general he did well but had not been effective lately such as in pushing for the implementation of long-overdue important projects that should have been done a few years ago.
As examples, he pointed to the rebuilding of SK Kampung Tellian, the building of a new outdoor sports stadium complete with synthetic running tracks, and the construction of a public swimming pool.
According to him, the people here have long been without an outdoor stadium, and so schools and other organisations had not had a proper place for holding athletic meets and other sports events over the past few years.
He also expressed sympathy for poor parents who had to spend money they could hardly afford to transport their children to SK Mukah near the town where SK Kampung Tellian pupils had been squatting for the last 10 years.