The Barisan Nasional’s (BN) victory in the Batang Ai state by-election is a vote of confidence to the new Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud (pic) said.taib-mahmud-cms

He said that Najib’s appointment and his message of change were among the factors which contributed to the BN’s huge victory in the area.

“They welcome Najib’s leadership. They believe that positive change will come with his appointment.

“We fully support the new prime minister and this is the way the people of Batang Ai giving Najib a rousing welcome,” a jovial Taib told a news conference at the Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) headquarters here tonight.

In the by-election, new face Malcolm Mussen Lamoh, 49, polled 3,907 votes to beat Parti Keadilan Rakyat’s (PKR) Jawah Gerang who polled 2,053 votes.

Mussen won with a 1,854-vote majority, an increase compared to the 860-vote majority obtained by Datuk Dublin Unting Ingkot in the state election in May 2006, beating Nicholas Bawin Anggat of Sarawak National Party (SNAP).

Taib said BN’s bigger majority was a reflection of a stronger support towards the ruling coalition in the Iban heartland.

“I think it is a clear indication that the people of Batang Ai reject the opposition parties, and this is a reflection of the sentiment of the people in Sarawak,” he said.

He also attributed the victory to the strong solidarity shown by BN leaders who came from Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah to support the BN candidate.

Mussen himself is a good and highly-qualified candidate and this also contributed to BN’s victory, he said.

The victory, he said, also showed that the people rejected the opposition parties and their “rough and boisterous politics” from gaining foothold in the Land of the Hornbills.

“They believe in us and I’m very happy,” he said.

Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr George Chan, who is the Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) president, said that the result showed that the people rejected PKR’s presence in the rural area.

“Hopefully this message will be pass down to the urban areas,” he said.

Chan added that the victory was a perfect gift to Najib who was sworn in as the new prime minister on Friday.

— BERNAMA