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Adenan Reaches Out To Voters

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KUCHING – Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem campaigned hard for “five more years” during the New Year’s Eve countdown here.

Adenan, who said state polls would be held within three months, said there was “lots more” he wanted to do for Sarawak if given another term.

He spoke at length on his “45 to 50 decisions”, from religious freedom to deleting lain-lain from govern­ment forms, and said Sarawakians could look forward to more emphasis on rural development.

“I can promise that as long as I am chief minister, there will be no toll. I have told the Prime Minister, no toll for the Pan Borneo Highway, even though it is 1,000km long and has lots of bridges,” Adenan told the huge crowd at the Tun Salahuddin Bridge at midnight on Thursday.

“I also promised to reduce the electricity tariff, which I have done, and reduce the charges of ferries… to a flat rate of RM1… I have fulfilled my promises. In three more months, I hope you will fulfil your promises. Promise to give me five more years.”

Adenan said he would step down after one full term.

In his 17-minute speech, he focused on the Sarawak for Sara­wakians sentiment although he never mentioned the slogan.

Adenan said he had an “agreement” that Umno would not come in and called on voters to reject peninsula-based parties like “DAP, PAS and PKR”.

“Who knows Sarawak better than Sarawakians? We know better. We can manage our own country within Malaysia.”

Adenan said he would seek higher oil and gas royalties, and autonomy within the boundaries of the Constitution.

“What meaning is there for me to be the Chief Minister of Sarawak if I don’t care about Sarawak?” he said to one of the loudest cheers of the night.

The state government’s term will expire on June 20. The latest the polls can be called is Sept 20.

For many months now, much of the political talk in Sarawak has focused on when the election could be called, with most speculating March or April.

In August last year, Adenan surprised reporters by saying he had “decided” on the date of the election. This New Year’s Eve was the first time he had mentioned a time frame.

Sarawak Barisan Nasional secretary general Datuk Dr Stephen Rundi told The Star: “Well, he (Adenan) is the decider. If he said it’s within three months, then it is within three months.”

State DAP chief Chong Chieng Jen yesterday said the announcement “didn’t come as a surprise” and that Opposition parties were prepared for polls to be held “soon after Chinese New Year”, which falls on Feb 8.

Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh, who heads UPP, the breakaway party of SUPP, expected seat negotiations among Barisan parties to wind up soon.

“I should think so,” he said when asked if it would be concluded before Chinese New Year.

“UPP leaves it to the CM. We have presented our case and we’re quite happy with it. The sooner, the better so that candidates can go full-swing in the preparations.”

Wong said polls had to be soon as “there is no more time left”. – The Star Online

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