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Sunday, September 30, 2001

All abuzz over Judat’s victory

KUCHING: As the dust from the state’s eighth elections settles, newly-elected assemblyman for Meluan, Wong Judat, the sole independent who made it into the 62-member State Assembly, has stolen the limelight.

The question raised is about Judat’s political affiliation.

While former Defence Minister Datuk Abang Abu Bakar Mustapha claimed that Judat was one of the 42 independents from the group he had led, the 40-year-old has denied this.

Judat, who was little known in the state political circles before the polls, said he also did not have any links with Parti Keadilan Nasional and other opposition groups.

He claimed that he represented the voice of the people in Meluan as they were unhappy with the choice of Barisan Nasional candidate Geman Itam, a long-serving assemblyman in the constituency.

Geman was surprisingly included in the Barisan list although his party - Sarawak National Party (SNAP) - had earlier dropped and replaced him with its secretary-general Justine Jinggut.

Judat, who was believed to be a former Parti Bansa Sarawak Sarawak (PBDS) member, secured 4,742 votes to unseat Geman with a 2,158-vote majority in a straight fight.

SNAP president Datuk Amar James Wong Kim Min admitted that he was not pleased with the last-minute change to retain Geman.

"The choice of Geman was a big mistake," agreed a senior SNAP leader yesterday.

He said Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud could not be blamed for picking Geman as a Barisan candidate as some SNAP assemblymen had written to Taib wanting him to be retained.

The leader said that in doing so, these assemblymen had breached party discipline as they had gone against the party’s central executive committee’s decision.

Source: The Star

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Sunday, September 30, 2001

  • Voters give opposition the boot
  • Barisan ‘brand’ strikes the right chord
  • Sarawak sends a strong signal
  • Winners must prove their worth
  • All abuzz over Judat’s victory
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