SELANGAU: In the 2013 general election (GE13), the people of Sarawak watched with interest the political moves of Sng Chee Hua and his son Larry Sng, the leaders of the newly formed Sarawak Workers’ Party (SWP).
Chee Hua, a flamboyant political figure in Sarawak, hails from Kapit and speaks Iban like an Iban.
He was originally with SNAP, before moving to PBDS, PRS and finally SWP.
He is also the former state assemblyman for Pelagus and former Julau MP.
Before forming SWP, Chee Hua and his group had been at loggerheads with PRS president Dr James Masing. However, Masing won the day following a declaration by the Registrar of Societies that he was the duly elected party president.
SWP was formed principally to challenge PRS in its six parliamentary seats in GE13. Selangau was one of them.
The senior Sng himself contested in Selangau against PRS deputy president Joseph Entulu Belaun.
Unfortunately, PKR also fielded a candidate, turning Selangau into a three-way fight.
The result was a disaster for Chee Hua and SWP. He polled only 4,485 votes against Entulu’s 12,040, losing by a majority of 7,555 votes.
PKR’s Joshua Jabeng came in third place with 3,891 votes.
Larry, who was also defeated in Lubok Antu in GE13, stepped down as SWP president before the 2016 state election. His father announced his retirement from politics around the same time.
Meanwhile, Entulu, the victor in Selangau, was rewarded with a federal cabinet post.
Prime Minister Najib Razak appointed him as a minister in the Prime Minister’s Department.
Today, however, Entulu is said to be having problems with his PRS boss, Masing.
Although the rift between the two men has not surfaced publicly, it is learnt that Masing wants to replace Entulu with a new face.
And Entulu is not taking it lying down. He is fighting back, and his supporters in Selangau have started preparing their MP to fight another term.
In recent days, Masing has publicly requested that the Barisan Nasional (BN) leadership allow each component party to decide on its candidates.
Perhaps he said this with Selangau in mind, as Entulu is a tough nut to crack.
Interestingly, it was an independent, Joseph Mauh, who first won the Selangau seat in 1990, defeating a BN candidate.
Mauh stood for another two terms on a BN ticket before passing the torch to Entulu.
Mauh’s victory in 1990 proves that personal popularity is a factor in Selangau.
Should Entulu fail to secure the BN ticket come the 14th general election, he might just run as an independent and could repeat Mauh’s 1990 victory.