A SPDP assemblyman's open support for former Julau MP Sng Chee Hua means 10 parliamentary seats are now at stake for BN.
KUCHING: Barisan Nasional coalition partners – Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) and Party Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) – are at war, not only in Julau but probably in all 10 parliamentary seats which they collectively hold.
The agent provocateur is the new Sarawak Workers Party (SWP) and SPDP’s Meluan assemblyman Wong Judat’s open support of the newcomer.
Judat’s recent harsh criticisms of Julau incumbent, Joseph Salang, has fuelled further simmering resentments between SPDP and PRS.
Both parties have collectively 10 parliamentary seats in the state. SPDP has four (Mas Gading, Saratok, Baram and Bintulu), while PRS has six (Julau, Hulu Rajang, Lubok Antu, Sri Aman, Selangau and Kanowit).
Salang’s ardent supporter and former PRS supreme council member Joseph Allen said there was nothing PRS could do if Judat is prepared to challenge Salang in the coming general election.
Salang, who is PRS vice-president and Deputy Information, Communications and Heritage Minister, has been nominated by his party to defend the Julau seat.
“It all depends on William Mawan [SPDP president] if he is supporting Judat or not. But if it is fight they are asking for, then we will fight them.
“The fight will not only begin and end in Julau; we will also fight them in constituencies which are contested by SPDP,” Allen said.
He was commenting on a statement by Judat last Saturday at a function organised by Sng Chee Hua and SWP leaders at Rumah Budol, Nanga Entabai, Julau.
Sng’s dirty tactics
Judat, who was the guest-of-honour, delivered a fiery speech telling the SWP leaders and the people that he would support any candidate put up by the party against Salang.
Judat’s conditional support is that SWP must choose a “quality” candidate to be able to defeat Salang, whom he described as a “leech” who took away RM3 million for a road project at Nanga Entabai and used it for another road project at Rantau Limau, Meluan.
He also accused Salang of being an “outsider” who should be removed from Julau. Salang comes from a longhouse in Bintangor, but his grandparents came from Julau.
On the 2,000 people – including 150 tuai rumah (longhouse chiefs) – who attended the SWP function, Allen said that Sng was noted to use money to attract people to come to his functions.
Sng was an MP for Julau from 1995 to 1999 during the days of the now-defunct Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS).
“I was told that the 21-door longhouse of Rumah Budol has allegedly demanded RM1000 per door [family] and the money must be paid first before Sng could use the longhouse to launch SWP’s campaign in the area.
“Nearby longhouse residents were allegedly paid RM100 per boat,” he said to FMT.
Allen recalled that in the 1996 state election, three of Sng’s men were caught red-handed distributing money while campaigning for Mong Dagang in Bukit Begunan.
The defeated candidate, Donald Lawan, contested the election result in court.
On Feb13, 1997 the court cancelled Mong’s victory resulting in a by-election which was held on March 15, 1997.
Allen warned the people of Sng’s alleged dirty tactics.
SPDP must explain stand
Wilfred Nissom, PRS secretary-general, said that Judat’s open declaration of support for SWP’s candidate in Julau substantiated PRS president James Masing’s earlier allegation that some members of BN component parties were sabotaging PRS in Julau.
“The leadership of SPDP of which Judat is a vice-president has some explanation to do to the BN supreme council,” he said.
Nissom, who is also a political secretary to the Chief Minister, wanted to know whether action would be taken against Judat.
Salang has been representing the Julau parliamentary constituency since 1999. The constituency comprises Meluan and Pakan seats.
Mawan is the incumbent for Pakan seat.
Nissom said that the situation in Julau could not be likened to the group of five (G5) dinner at Redeems Centre in Bau, which he attended two weeks ago.
The G5 comprises Tiki Lafe, and five state assemblymen – Peter Nansian (Tasik Biru), Sylvester Entri (Marudi), Paulus Gumbang (Batu Danau) and Rosey Yunus (Bekenu). All the five were sacked from SPDP in November last year.
Nissom was criticised for attending and speaking at the dinner which was to promote Tiki Lafe’s candidacy for Mas Gading.
He said that he was criticised for attending the dinner, but his critics failed to understand that the five were elected representatives.
Three of them were assistant ministers, he said, pointing out that the dinner was a BN function.