If there is one member of Parliament that I will not hesitate to take my hat off to, it has got to be Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, the MP for Santubong.
For a 77-year-old, the down-to-earth de-facto law minister who has been in politics for more than three decades shows no sign of slowing down. In fact, he goes about doing his job with the fervour, passion, enthusiasm and zeal of a thirty-something that could easily put much younger politicians to shame.
The former police officer who fought the communists between 1969 and 1973 amazes me with his ability to manage his time efficiently, juggling between family life and politics.
And how does he manage to do it?
“I don’t play golf, so I have all the time to juggle several tasks at once,” he quipped when I met him over dinner over the weekend.
On top of his parliamentary tasks and daily taxing ministerial duties, Wan Junaidi stays in touch with his people – coming down fortnightly (depending on his work schedule) and visiting his constituency to listen to the people’s problems. More often than not he makes sure that most of the issues, if not all, are resolved.
He also appears frequently in public at kenduris (community functions) and social events, and on social media where people get the opportunity to meet or chat with him – unlike some elected representatives who are known only to emerge from their comfort zone or ‘palace’ during elections.
Wan Junaidi also gets his personal assistants to organise regular gatherings for the people and media personnel to get feedback on current developments. He is not one to ignore anyone. When he is in town, his house is open to anyone who wants to see him.
Honestly, voters demand politicians who are also outgoing, sociable, and talkative. Listening to Wan Junaidi is a joy.
The ex-police officer who read law after leaving the force, is well-read and well-informed. He will tell you all that you want to know about parliamentary democracy and Commonwealth law. He is also well-versed in history.
At times I feel that he could make an excellent lecturer. But on second thoughts, he should stay on in politics because this man has still so much to contribute to the people, state and nation. It would be a waste if he leaves politics.
As the de-facto law minister, Wan Junaidi was instrumental in getting the historic anti-hopping bill passed in Parliament on July 28.
I understand that since his appointment by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob to take charge of the Law Ministry last August, Wan Junaidi has been kept on his toes. He had to sacrifice his sleep on several nights to prepare the anti-hopping bill as he didn’t want to leave anything to chance.
Credit goes to Wan Junaidi for the great job with the anti-hopping bill.
If you think he can finally sleep now that the bill is passed, you are wrong.
“My friends said now I can finally sleep well … I told them, my job is not done yet! The anti-hopping law is still not gazetted. There are other laws to table, such as the political funding bill. So no rest for me yet!” said Wan Junaidi.
Typical of him!
Anyway, let’s hope and pray Wan Junaidi decides to defend his seat in the coming general election (GE15). He has still much more to give to Sarawak and the country.
Wan Junaidi made his electoral debut in 1990 where he stood in Batang Lupar and defeated Permas’ Wan Habib Mahmud by a 2,665-vote majority, securing 54 per cent of the votes.
He was returned unopposed in GE9 in 1995.
Four years later in 1999, STAR fielded Syid Assimie Ismail but he could only garner 2,689 votes against Wan Junaidi’s 7,903 votes. The latter retained the seat with a 5,214-vote majority, taking 72 per cent of the total votes cast.
When PBB decided to switch his seat to Santubong in the 2004 general election Wan Junaidi didn’t disappoint his party. He defeated Independent Idris Bohari in a straight fight by an impressive majority of 10,560 votes. Wan Junaidi garnered 12,590 votes to Idris’ 2,030 votes. The former secured 85 per cent of the votes cast.
In the 2008 general election, he retained the seat with an increased majority of 11,945 votes. His opponent from PKR, Rahamat Idil Latip, had no answer to Wan Junaidi’s popularity.
The incumbent secured 15,800 votes to Rahamat’s 3,855 votes with Wan Junaidi taking 79 per cent of the votes cast.
In the general election of 2013, 24,655 voters or 85 per cent of the voters decided to retain Wan Junaidi as their representative. PKR’s Zulrusdi Mohamad Hol came no way near the incumbent, managing only 3,719 of the votes. Wan Junaidi’s victory margin was simply overwhelming – a whopping 20,936-vote majority.
In the 2018 general election, he again retained the seat with a winning margin of 19,485 votes against Mohd Fidzuan Zaidi of AMANAH. A total of 26,379 voters continued to place their faith in the incumbent, who secured 79 per cent of the votes. Mohd Fidzuan garnered 6,894 votes.
The seven-term MP should easily retain the seat for GPS judging from his excellent track record in past elections.
The views expressed here are those of the columnist and do not necessarily represent the views of New Sarawak Tribune.