KUCHING: PKR’s Willie Mongin is a political workhorse and is also known as a fighter who is admired by his supporters in the Bidayuh enclave of Puncak Borneo.
This is Mongin’s second attempt to wrest Puncak Borneo from BN. In 2013, he was up against PBB veteran and deputy federal minister James Dawos and didn’t fare that well. Mongin lost after securing 10,740 votes against Dawos, who garnered 20,461 votes.
Many expect the Puncak Borneo contest to be different this time.
Following Dawos’s announcement that he was retiring early last year, there was a scramble for the seat among PBB leaders in the constituency. There were not less than eight serious contenders.
A political observer, who declined to be named, said the intense lobbying for the seat by BN had caused a split among PBB supporters and this could cause some of them to vote for the opposition.
He said given such a fluid situation, the two main contenders, Willie Mongin and BN’s Genot Sibek @ Jeannoth Sinel, would have an even chance of winning. The third candidate is STAR’s Buln Ribos.
Although Genot Sibek was a political greenhorn, Mongin said he still had to face the might of the BN election machinery
“I am still the underdog because there is no way I can match BN’s resources. But my supporters and voters can be assured that I will fight on till May 9. Make no mistake about that,” he told FMT.
Puncak Borneo, formerly Mambong, is a Bidayuh-majority parliamentary seat where 65% of the electorate are non-Muslim Bumiputeras.
It also has a sizeable 27% Chinese voter population. Malays make up 12% of the total 42,344 voters.
Sarawak PKR has tagged Puncak Borneo as one PBB seat which is not impossible to penetrate.