SIBU, May 16 (Bernama) -- The DAP tonight won the Sibu parliamentary by-election when its candidate Wong Ho Leng won the three-cornered fight with a 398-majority vote.
Wong, who is also Bukit Assek state assemblyman, garnered 18,845 votes against Barisan National (BN)'s Robert Lau Hui Yew, who obtained 18,447 votes while independent Narawi Haron only received 232 votes.
It was the culmination of an intense one-week campaign, which saw top leaders from both camps, including Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and DAP advisor Lim Kit Siang, traversing the length and breadth of the constituency.
As the election fever intensified with daily meet-the-people sessions and public talks by the respective parties and even nightly stage concerts by local celebrities, this normally quiet riverine town took on a carnival-like atmosphere.
The by-election was called following the death of five-time MP and Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Robert Lau Hoi Chew on April 9.
In the March 2008 General election, Hoi Chew won with a 3,235-vote majority to retain the mainly Chinese urban seat in a three-cornered fight beating Wong and Lim Chin Chuang of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR).
He had obtained 19,138 votes against Wong's 15,903 and Lim's 812.
A total of 37,919 or 70 per cent of the 54,695 registered voters cast their ballots at 45 polling stations.
Today's by-election was the second held in Sarawak over the span of one year.
In April last year the BN retained the Batang Ai state seat in a straight fight with PKR.
Wong, speaking at a media conference after the result was announced, said he would serve all irrespective of whether they supported him or otherwise in the by-election.
He said he hoped to bring about fundamental changes for the benefit of the people.
Wong, who is also Bukit Assek assemblyman, added that he would be attending the state legislative assembly sitting in Kuching tomorrow and had submitted 15 questions for deliberation.
Meanwhile, Hui Yew congratulatd Wong on his victory.
He said his party, the Sarawak United People's Party (SUPP) which represented the BN in the by election, would be a conducting a post-mortem on the result so that remedial measures could be taken. (By Caroline Jackson/ Bernama)