Introducing of our new candidate Ranum ak Mina
LUNDU: Information Department field officer Ranum anak Mina strikes you as quiet and unassuming. It's the nature of his job that has made him somewhat obscure.
A former army ranger and commando, he joined the security forces intelligence unit where he developed an understanding for the need to keep your ears and eyes open but yours lips sealed. On meeting Ranum at a coffee shop in Lundu it was not easy identifying Ranum who blended in well with the mixed crowd of natives Chinese.
Only his deep blue (for Barisan Nasional) shirt gave him away.
But since being named as the Sarawak United People's Party (SUPP) candidate for Tanjung Datu, he has finally able been to express his views about what the government has done and what he intends to do if elected.
Like most natives of rural Sarawak, the Kampung Pueh Selako youth has a difficult life and poverty coupled with the need to secure a job and support the family, resulted in his joining the army after his form three examinations.
�After leaving school I joined the 2nd Ranger regiment then left for commando training before being attached to the intelligence unit. I became a Warrant Officer 1 and even served as an instructor in the army intelligence school at Sungai Buloh, said Ranum who was also the Military Intelligence Officer of Negeri Sembilan in 1983.
During his tour of duty Ranum also served in Kedah where he was involved in the joint Thai-Malaysian army's Daoyai-Musnah Operations.
There he met and married Sungei Petani nurse Lu Sai Ngoh whom he I brought with him back to Sarawak.
�I first met Datuk Ramsay Jitam when I was working in Lundu in the early l980s before being sent to Negeri Sembilan. Later I returned to Kuching in 1987 and became co-ordinator for field security for Sabah and Sarawak. After retiring from the army in 1992 I joined the Information Department.
During this tune he began to have an understanding on how polities worked as his home district began to see greater at devel�opment. Sometime last year Ramsay told Ranum he would like to step down and asked him to become the candidate. �Initially I was hesitant but later when I realised that this was opportunity to help me people, I agreed and we met the Deputy Chief Minister and SUPP leader Tan Sri Dr George Chan.
Since then Ranum has begun to mobilise his friends and supporters to achieve what no Selako has ever done. On his election plans, Ranum said that it was very simple.
All he wanted to accomplish is to ensure that all the people have a share in the development that is talking place. He is also glad the assemblyman Ramsay had helped push for the SMK Lundu to be upgraded to have Form Six classes.
�Education is very important to the rural people like us. I was not so fortunate but I was born at the wrong time. But I will try any best to make sure that other young people with potential could aim for it the best.�
When commenting whether he is confident enough to win the election, he says, �I believe I have strong Selako � Chinese and Iban support. I hope my Malay friends will also give me good support because I will also be working for them ,� said Ranum whose constituency comprises 3,302 Bidayuhs (the majority are Selako), 3,524 Malays, 1586 Ibans. He said that apart from the issue of native customary right land, there is not much that the opposition can talk about. He said that communication was no issue because improving and the long-waited Kuching-Sematan bridge will be completed by June next year.
�People always complain about this and that but they don�t talk about the projects and development that have helped improve their lifestyle. Unfortunately, some of us have a very short memory.�
Ranum hopes that the people in his constituency will give him a chance to prove his sincerity.
�Don�t forget that I belong to the area and there is nothing that I won�t do to help upgrade the district� added Ranum who is still attached to the Information Department until he resigns by the end of the week.