Yet another old political horse aiming to make a comeback has got Parti Rakyat Sarawak president James Masing rattled.
KUCHING: Former Sarawak National Party (SNAP) assemblyman for Bukit Begunan Donald Lawan who has expressed his intention to contest against the MP for Sri Aman Masir Kujat whom he helped in the 2008 general election is certain to cause repercussions not only in Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS), but also within the Barisan Nasional coalition.
This is because Lawan is putting his son Snowdan Lawan who is PRS deputy secretary-general and the Balai Ringin assemblyman in an awkward situation.
PRS president James Masing warned that if Lawan is going to contest against the incumbent Masir Kujat there might be repercussions.
“It is up to him to contest. This is after all a free country and we practise democracy. But he must remember the repercussions because his son is in BN,” he said.
Masing did not clearly say what were the ‘repercussions’ but it is understood to be linked to Snowdon’s political future in PRS. He may be be dropped come the next election.
Like his father, Snowdan is a PBB sympathiser. During the height of PRS crisis in 2006, Snowdan threw his lot behind Larry Sng against Masing.
But he later, relented after being given an ultimatum and returned to Masing.
Even today, there are PRS members who suspect that Snowdan is a PBB man.
Seniors Lawan, Sng ‘good friends’
It was Lawan who introduced Kujat to Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud and got him nominated as a candidate of PRS for the Sri Aman seat in 2008 Lawan became his director of operations.
Kujat’s nomination had deprived PRS’ own candidate Doris Brodie of an opportunity to contest.
While Lawan is a PBB man, Kujat was also influenced into leaning towards PBB at that time.
It was for that ‘PBB leaning’ that he was picked by Taib.
Lately through his owned Bulletin Kenyalang publications, Lawan discredited Kujat and announced his intention to contest the Sri Aman parliamentary seat.
However, he did not state under which party ticket he will stand.
Some of his supporters said that he will be contesting as an independent candidate, while others claim that he will stand under the newly registered Sarawak Workers Party banner.
After all, Lawan and Sng Chee Hua, the man who was responsible for the registration of SWP are good friends.
Taib, Najib support?
Meanwhile, in the latest issue of Bulletin Kenyalang, Kujat has been described as corrupted and under Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) investigation for allegedly abusing his funds for rural projects.
The report also claimed that Kujat was an ineffective parliamentarian who had never asked for major development projects for Sri Aman, and his attendance was merely to claim the parliamentary allowances.
According to the bulletin, Kujat has a poor relationship with government officers and as an elected representative this is not good.
It also accused him of using his minor rural projects (MRP) funds to allegedly buy votes.
On the other hand, the magazine has projected Lawan as having vast experience in business, politics and as a civil servant.
Lawan is said to have a ‘ good rapport’ with Taib and other senior government officers in Sarawak as well as in Kuala Lumpur.
Lawan said using ‘his connections’ he could ask for more development projects for Sri Aman.
As a businessman, Lawan has no problem with finance so he would not abuse the MRP funds, and pledged to establish a students fund for Sri Aman and would donate RM9,000 to the fund every month.
The report also posted that as he shared close relationships with Taib and Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and would therefore be accepted back to the fold of Barisan Nasional.
In 1987 Lawan was propelled into the political limelight when he defeated Daniel Tajem, deputy president of the defunct Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak by 59 votes for the Bukit Begunan seat.
Although he was a PBB man, Lawan donned the SNAP ticket to contest.
In 1991 Tajem won the seat back for PBDS with 534 votes majority, ending Lawan’s political life. He returned to PBB and created several PBB branches in Sri Aman.
Despite the accusations and allegations against Kujat, Masing said that Kujat has been nominated to defend the seat on behalf of the BN.
What are the real reasons for Lawan to fight his own friend? Politically and academically, Lawan is no better than Kujat.
A graduate, Kujat was a principal assistant secretary in one of the State Ministry before he retired to take up politics, while Lawan was a junior officer with the agriculture department before he ventured into business. The only difference is that Lawan is a successful businessman.
A close aide to Kujat believed that Lawan was unhappy with the MP for not appreciating his services to help him (Kujat) win in the 2008 general election.
As a businessman, Lawan expects to be rewarded with some MRP projects.
Kujat like other BN parliamentarians is given an allocation of RM7.5 million spread out in five years to develop his constituency. Kujat has failed to give some projects to Lawan.