Breakaway parties pose problem for Adenan


KUCHING: With Sarawak set to hold state elections this year, the delicate political issue, involving two Barisan Nasional component parties and two new so-called BN-friendly parties remain unresolved.

Internal differences within the Sarawak United People’s Party and the Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party led to the formation of breakaway groups who formed the United People’s Party and Parti Tenaga Rakyat Sarawak (Teras).

A popular guessing game is about whether and when the two new parties, UPP and Teras, will be accepted into the BN coalition, and if not what their roles would be in the elections, which must be held by June this year.

All eyes are on Sarawak BN chairman Adenan Satem and how he will resolve the matter.

Adenan has said that he will make his decision when the time comes after he has given enough chances to the leadership of the four parties to resolve the matters among themselves.

Another question being asked was whether SUPP and SPDP would be willing to compromise in the distribution of seats should UPP and Teras are accepted into BN.

There is also speculation about who will get six of 11 new seats that have been created, after Adenan said that his Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu, backbone of state BN backbone, will take five of the new seats.

Lobbying is already very strong on the ground, especially for the new seats, as well as those at the centre of the tussles between SUPP and UPP, and between SPDP and Teras.

Both SUPP and SPDP leaders have openly and repeatedly said they will never agree to the acceptance of UPP and Teras and insisted that they will not give any of their seats away to their respective rivals.

UPP is led by former SUPP deputy secretary-general Wong Soon Koh and has four state assemlymen with it while Teras is led by former SPDP president William Mawan Ikom and has five.

The state assembly has been increased to 82 seats from 71.