Taib who has been the assemblyman for Balingian since 2001 has to vacate that seat upon his appointment as Head of State.
This expectation has shifted the state’s political limelight on Balingian as political pundits go on overdrive predicting who would take over from Taib there.
A name that topped the list of potential candidates, Datuk Seri Mohd Effendi Norwawi, the former Dalat assemblyman and federal minister had ruled himself out of the race. He told The Borneo Post on Sunday that he did not want to be involved in politics anymore.
With Effendi not in the running, the other potential candidate is a former permanent secretary to the Ministry of Tourism, Akit Sebli, who is also PBB Balingian Division vice-chairman.
When contacted, Akit said he had been active on the ground after he retired from government service more than two years ago.
Akit who is from Mukah which is part of the Balingian constituency is a corporate advisor of an oil and gas company in Miri and a member of the board of directors of the Sarawak Convention Bureau.
Prior to his appointment as permanent secretary to the Ministry of Tourism, Akit worked with Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB) in Kuala Lumpur in its finance and ICT sections for 19 years.
He added that his last post at PNB was as a chief executive officer of PNB’s subsidiary company called GITN Sdn Bhd – a joint venture between PNB and Telekom Malaysia; providing communication networks to the government departments.
“While I was with PNB, I was directly involved in the creation of Amanah Saham Bumiputera unit trust scheme. I was also instrumental to the computerisation of the postal services department, immigration department, road transport department and national registration department,” he said.
At that time, he was also involved as a member of a ‘think thank’ to develop the electronic government flagship of the Multimedia Super Corridor.
Akit received both his primary and secondary education in Mukah and pursued his first degree at UPM in Agribusiness.
Later, he pursued his MBA at the University of Cranfield, United Kingdom.
In the last general election in April last year, Akit was the director of operations for Mukah parliamentary seat and was the deputy director of operation in the last state election for Balingian.
The current chairman of PBB Balingian Division is Taib himself with Dato Sri Dr Muhd Leo Toyad as deputy chairman.