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Mawan snubs Masing’s offer of united Dayaks

 | July 1, 2013

SPDP has described PRS’ aspirations of a ‘unity among Dayaks’ as “irrelevant and overtaken by times”.

KUCHING: Dayak-based Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) which retained its four parliamentary seats but was ignored in the post general election federal cabinet has turned its nose on Dayak unity and instead is throwing its support for “1Barisan Nasional.”

Party president William Mawan has outrightly rejected a consolidatory gesture from Parti Rakyat Sarawak president James Masing.

Masing had called for renewed merger talks between the parties in a bid to unite the Dayak community in the state and represent a stronger voice.

Masing had said that this was imperative in view of the current political situation in the country.

He was alluding to PRS and SPDP being sidelined in the formation of the federal cabinet post GE13 despite their 10 seat contributions to the tally. Sarawak United Peoples Party (SUPP) which only retained one of its seven seats were given a full minister post.

But Mawan has described Masing’s call as “zero, irrelevant and has been overtaken by times.”

“We are not doing that merger talk anymore. It has been overtaken by times. We are now talking about 1BN (Barisan Nasional).

“Don’t ask me that question (merger) any more. I don’t want to hear of it again,”said Mawan, who is the state Social Development Minister.

SPDP insiders claim Mawan is unhappy with Masing who wanted the five expelled SPDP leaders to be included in the new political entity.

The five – Tiki Lafe, the former MP for Mas Gading, and assemblymen Peter Nansian (Tasik Biru), Paulus Gumbang (Batu Danau), Sylvester Entri (Marudi) and Rosey Yunus (Bekenu) – had much earlier rejected Mawan’s conditional offer of reconciliation.

Mawan was only willing to accept certain leaders from the expelled group.

Nansian, who is a spokesman for group rejected Mawan’s offer with a: “You take all of us or none at all”.

Opportunistic Masing?

Seizing this opportunity, Masing had talked about ‘inclusiveness’ in the new Dayak entity and many observers felt that ‘inclusiveness’ should include the partyless and expelled SPDP leaders.

Masing was also eyeing the five Dayak elected representatives in SUPP.

He is hoping to invite the five – Ranum Mina (Opar), Francis Harden (Simanggang), Johnichal Rayong (Engkilili), Jerip Susil (Bengoh) and the MP for Serian Richard Riot – to join the new entity in the event SUPP is deregistered.

Masing’s rekindling of an old merger plan has however alarmed a number of people here.

The idea of merger was first mooted seven years ago by Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud who wanted the two parties to merge into one political entity.

SPDP is a breakaway from Sarawak National Party in 2002.  PRS is a splinter group from Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS) which was deregistered in 2004.

Discussions between the two parties on the issue suddenly died down during the 2008 general election. But ‘negotiations’ resumed before the April 2011 state election.

But after the election nothing moved even though both sides formed negotiation committees.

Masing reportedly said at that time, that the plan to merge PRS with SPDP had been temporarily shelved.

“Negotiation between PRS and SPDP has been put on hold. I don’t know when the talks (merger) will resume.

“We (PRS) are already ready and prepared to resume the talks, but the other side (SPDP) is not,” he reportedly said.

A merger between PRS and SPDP would see the ‘new entity’ having 14 Dayak elected representatives, making it the second biggest party after Parti Pesaka Bumiputra Bersatu (PBB) which has 35 seats.

The number of Dayak state assemblymen could be enhanced to 18 if Dayak elected representatives in SUPP join in.

In Parliament, the new Dayak entity could have 11 MPs.


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