Saturday March 16, 2013
Junaidi: S’wak, Sabah and Johor will help Barisan score comfortable win
By Jack Wong
KUCHING: The Barisan Nasional’s fortresses in Sarawak, Sabah and Johor are impregnable and will help the coalition to score a “comfortable” win in the 13th general election.
This is the assessment of Deputy Parliament Speaker Datuk Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar.
“We (Barisan) may not be able to get a two-thirds majority but we can win comfortably,” the veteran politician told The Star yesterday.
Wan Junaidi, who is also Santubong MP, described as a “good guess” by two senior ministers that the coalition would capture at least 25 out of the 31 parliamentary seats in Sarawak.
Land Development Minister Tan Sri Dr James Masing and Housing Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg had predicted that Sarawak Barisan could deliver no fewer than 25 seats.
The state coalition now holds 29 out of the 31 seats, with Bandar Kuching and Sibu in DAP hands.
“The Sabah Barisan can get 18 out of the 25 seats,” predicted Wan Junaidi.
He said the squabbles and fierce competition between Sabah-based Opposition leaders and Pakatan Rakyat leaders were likely to split the their votes, and this would favour the Barisan.
The number of Sabah Barisan MPs has been reduced to 20 following recent defections of several MPs to Pakatan.
Sarawak and Sabah have been dubbed the coalition’s “fixed deposits”.
On Pakatan’s bid to make inroads into Johor, Wan Junaidi said: “It is not easy for them to make a breakthrough.”
In the 2008 polls, Barisan secured 25 out of the 26 parliamentary seats and 50 of the 56 state seats in Johor.
Pakatan’s strategy in Johor this time is for DAP and PKR to contest the bulk of the parliamentary seats. DAP leader Lim Kit Siang has indicated that Pakatan would focus on 16 parliamentary seats.
Asked about his take on SUPP’s performance in the polls, Wan Junaidi expected the party to deliver Serian, Sibu and Miri seats.
Political observers fear that SUPP might suffer another bashing from DAP after the opposition party’s big win in Chinese-majority seats in the 2011 state elections.
SUPP deputy president and long-serving Serian MP Datuk Richard Riot is expected to seek re-election while the party is likely to field Chinese community leader Vincent Lau in Sibu. Miri seat is currently held by SUPP president Datuk Peter Chin Fah Kui, who is likely to make way for party information chief Datuk Sebastian Ting.
The Barisan lost Sibu to Sarawak DAP chairman Richard Wong Ho Leng in a by-election following the death of Datuk Robert Lau Hoi Chiew. Wong will not seek re-election due to health problems.
Wan Junaidi said SUPP newcomer and Youth secretary-general Wilfred Yap had a 50:50 chance of retaining Stampin for Barisan.
“But Wilfred needs backup support of SUPP at all levels who have to come out and help him. You (SUPP) cannot have many fronts. Do not fight for yourself. The mistake of SUPP leaders is to promote themselves and not the party,” he added.
Long-serving Stampin MP Datuk Yong Khoon Seng, who is also Deputy Works Minister, is not seeking a fresh term as he is adamant about retiring.