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Discord in SNAP over BN membership

 | August 29, 2012

According to SNAP secretary-general Frankie Nyumboi, the party has 'chosen to remain independent' but its president appears to have other ideas.

KUCHING: Sarawak National Party (SNAP) president Stanley Jugol and secretary-general Frankie Jurem Nyumboi appear to be on a collision course over the issue of SNAP returning to the fold of Barisan Nasional.

Jugol wants SNAP to return to BN, while Nyumboi is against it.

“If he insists I will resign because I disagree with the direction he is taking with the reasoning that SNAP officials may be appointed senators and to other government posts.

“I do not subscribe to that brand of politics for personal gains and grandeur.

“I believe in protecting the rights and autonomy of Sarawak under the 18-Point Agreement…,” Nyumboi told FMT.

He added that rumours that the party’s recent central executive committee (CEC) meeting was stormy is not true.

“The recent CEC meeting was not stormy except for my reminder that any change of policies must have the consent of the CEC members in accordance with the [party's] constitution, but he [Jugol] said that CEC had already agreed to return to BN.

“This puzzled me and other CEC members,” he said.

Nyumboi said that Kebing Wan, SNAP deputy president and a couple of others, had expressed their disappointment at the unilateral decision of the president.

“As far as I know, Kebing Wan cannot support BN because of the Baram dam issues,” he said, pointing out that Jugol had the support of the immediate past president Edwin Dundang.

‘Naughty rumours’

The disagreement over the issue of returning to the BN fold is certain to undermine SNAP’s preparations to contest in at least four seats in the coming general election.

It has named Mas Gading, Lubok Antu, Saratok and Baram as the seats it wants to contest.

Earlier in his statement, Nyumboi said that SNAP will remain as an opposition party and this position will continue until a new direction is decided by the CEC in accordance with the party’s constitution.

“There will be no about-turn on SNAP’s position as an opposition party

“Any rumours of SNAP being BN-friendly or rejoining BN are naughty rumours. Furthermore, the party abides by its constitution which does not allow unilateral decisions to be made on the party’s policies.

“The party has chosen to remain independent because it wants to voice out issues affecting Sarawak.

“Among others there is the issue of non-fulfilment of the 18-Points Agreement, which has given rise to numerous policies and actions detrimental to Sarawak.

“As a result, progress in structural and human development was painfully slow,” he said, adding that SNAP is in a better position to address all these issues, because it is homegrown and does not need to report or answer to anyone else.

Nyumboi said that SNAP is an old and a respectable political party that does not betray its members and supporters as well as its friends in the Borneo alliance with whom it shares a common Borneo agenda on the 18- and 20-Point Agreements.

“If there is ‘Jangi Ditepati’, why is the 18-Point Agreement unfulfilled for 49 years?” he asked, referring to this year’s Merdeka Day theme.

“SNAP shall continue to provide Sarawakians with a channel to voice their dissatisfaction over their rights and autonomy,” he said.

SNAP may still be in BN

SNAP which gave Sarawak its first chief minister, Stephen Kalong Ningkan, joined the Alliance government when Sarawak became independent through the formation of Malaysia in September 1963.

But Ningkan was sacked in September 1966 when he and SNAP strongly defended the 18-Point Malaysia agreement. SNAP was forced to leave the Alliance.

However, following its successes in the 1974 general election, SNAP, with 18 state and nine parliamentary seats, was invited to join BN. It was accepted as a BN member in 1976 until November 2002.

In November 2002, the party was deregistered after an unresolved party leadership crisis which also resulted in the formation of Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP).

Even though the decision on SNAP’s deregistration was reversed by the Court of Appeal in June 2010, SNAP’s membership in BN remains a mystery.

It had never been sacked from BN nor did it quit the ruling coalition.


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