GETTING Sri Aman in Sarawak to grow and move forward as one community is the long-term goal of its newbie MP and Sarawak Dayaks’ first woman parliamentarian, Doris Sophia Brodi.
Brodi, who won in a four-way fight in this constituency of 50,164 voters, said even though the Dayak is the largest ethnic group there, she wants “Sri Amanians” of other ethnic groups – Chinese and Malays being the largest – to be on board for the ride to the Sri Aman she had envisioned.
“I want to be a people’s representative for all in Sri Aman,” she told The Malaysian Insight.
This predominantly Dayak constituency’s claim to fame is that its largest town, Simanggang was the site of the signing of the peace treaty between the Sarawak government and the communists on October 20, 1973 that ended an armed insurgency.
Simanggang – whose name was later changed to Bandar Sri Aman to commemorate the signing – is for most part a rather laidback sleepy hollow. It is 200km from Kuching.
Locals didn’t like the new name and the state government reverted to Simanggang three years ago.
Brodi, who is also Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) women’s chief, said her first task would be “about grasping the real needs of the populace and planning”.
That work, she said, had been made much easier by the recently established Sri Aman Development Agency (Sada), which had already drawn up a master plan for Sri Aman.
The government agency is chaired by former Batang Lupar MP Rohani Karim.
She said her immediate priority is therefore to study the Sada master plan.
“I guess (that’s) quite clear cut.”
She is keen to see through the implementation of federal funded infrastructure projects, and further improving education and healthcare in this part of rural Sarawak.
The Sada development master plan goes up to 2030.
Brodi said for the plan to be executed properly, it needs a synchronised effort from three assemblymen – Snowdan Lawan (Balai Ringin), Francis Harden Hollis (Simanggang) and Mong Dagang (Bukit Begunan) – whose seats are under the Sri Aman parliamentary constituency.
Like Brodi, the three are all Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) lawmakers.
“They are veterans in their own rights as local politicians. I need to work hand in hand with them to further develop Sri Aman,” she said.
Brodi polled 14,131 votes to stave off the challenge of Parti Sarawak Bersatu’s Wilson Entabang (10,092), incumbent Masir Kujat (5,673) and Pakatan Harapan’s Naga Libau (2,021).
Kujat, who contested, and won the seat for three terms on a PRS ticket, stood as an Independent in the just concluded election.
Brodi is one of eight new faces that triumphed in Sarawak in the election.
The others are Rodiyah Sapiee (Batang Sadong), Mohamad Shafizan (Batang Lupar), Roy Angau Gingkoi (Lubok Antu), Richard Rapu (Betong), Huang Tiong Sii (Sarikei), Edwin Banta (Selangau) and Chiew Choon Man (Miri).
Except for Chiew, who is from PH, the others are from GPS.
Khlir vows to care for soldiers, veterans
For another newbie MP, Ketereh’s Khlir Mohd Nor, it’s a case of a former soldier not forgetting fellow soldiers.
This former military intelligence chief, who retired from the service with the rank of major-general, said his immediate priority is to improve the welfare of soldiers and military veterans in his constituency.
“And that does not mean other groups will be overlooked,” the new PAS federal lawmaker added.
“I will definitely serve all groups. No one will be left behind,” he said, echoing a well-known military vow to never leave a fallen soldier behind.
He said as probably the only former ranking military officer in the new parliament, he would definitely use his MP position to be “the voice” of the soldiers and veterans.
“As a former soldier, I am in a position that understands them to take care of their aspirations, welfare and those who are dependent on them.
“They are likely already pinning their hopes on me,” he quipped.
Already at the top of his “to-do list” is to push for an increase in their pension.
Another group of people Khlir has set his eyes on is on the unfortunate, underprivileged young people in his constituency.
He said he will first have to identify them and the kind of help they need.
He spoke of the seven orphans he had helped as an example.
“I have discussed with the Social Welfare Department on the need to provide them with assistance monthly.”
Khlir surprised everyone when won comfortably to dislodge Umno from one of its long-time strongholds.
He polled 40,542 votes to see off the challenge of Barisan Nasional’s (BN) Marzuani Ardila Ariffin, who could only manage 17,435 votes.
Khlir’s winning majority was 23,107.
The other two candidates, PH’s Haji Rahimi and Parti Bumiputera Perkasa Malaysia’s Haneef Ibrahim, lost their deposit.
Rahimi polled 4,662 votes while Haneef a mere 223.
Khlir is one of six new Perikatan Nasional MPs from Kelantan – equally divided between PAS and Bersatu.
The other three from PAS are Mumtaz Md Nawi (Tumpat), Mohd Syahir Che Sulaiman (Bachok), Wan Ahmad Fayhsal Wan Kamal (Machang) while the two from Bersatu are Zahari Kechik (Jeli) and Mohd Azizi Abu Naim (Gua Musang). – November 26, 2022.