Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) strong showing at the recent Batang Ai by-election had prompted Barisan Nasional to spend big – whooping RM70 million in order to retain the seat.

So desperate was BN, that Awang Tengah, a senior vice president of PBB and second minister of planning and resource management, who rarely been seen in Batang Ai was reported to be on the spot approving RM70,000 worth of roofing materials for a longhouse!

The by-election was held following the death of Dublin Unting. It is probably the costliest by-election in Sarawak yet. Defeated PKR candidate Jawah was gracious and said he may have lost but Batang Ai have won RM70 million windfall.

“(For PKR) it’s a victory without glory,” he said alluding to the fact that while he failed to get the seat from the BN, his contesting the seat had drawn about RM70 million in allocation for development projects to the constituency.

The April 7 by-election saw BN’s Malcolm Mussen Lamoh garnering 3,907 votes against 2,053 votes for Parti Keadilan Rakyat’s (PKR) Jawah, a former five-term MP.

Jawah yesterday said he was in the midst of forming a committee to make sure that all projects announced by the BN during the run-up to the by-election would be fulfilled.

“We will make sure that these projects will come to the ‘rakyat’ (people),” he said, adding that implementation should be immediate as the people had been told that the funds were already available.

As the election is over – now time to see BN fullfilled its promises to Batang Ai voters.