By Tashny Sukumaran
KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysian Civil Liberties Movement (MCLM) today announced that it was severing ties with Sarawak National Party (Snap) due to the latter’s alleged engagement in dubious practices.
MCLM president Haris Ibrahim explained that the objective of the alliance was to end the plight of marginalised Sarawakians by ending Sarawak Chief Minister Taib Mahmud’s 30-year reign, and to establish a pro-rakyat federal government.
“We have received reports that the Snap candidates and some of their ‘privileged’ leaders had suddenly come into significant funds that were being made available by operatives from Kuala Lumpur acting under the directions of BN, ” Haris said in a press conference today.
“There is no absolute conclusive evidence but in situations like these you rarely see conclusive black and white evidence. If this information is true, then it is a betrayal of the worst kind to a people who have been subjected to oppression for the last 30 years,” he added.
In late February, MCLM announced their partnership with Snap, saying that they would assist the party in screening prospective candidates and organise polling and counting agent training for its members.
Haris revealed that early last week “we were informed by Snap that the training was cancelled under further notice”.
MCLM was then told on March 16, 2011 that Snap had chosen 16 candidates without consulting them.
All of these candidates were deemed by MCLM to be “high-risk, integrity-wise”.
One week later, a further 11 candidates were named. “Again, information we have received of these latest candidates is not favourable.”
Haris said that despite seeking an explanation for their actions from Snap, none had been forthcoming.
He promised, however, that MCLM would not be deterred by this unfortunate episode, and continue to pursue the forging of workable alliances with any opposition party who shared common goals.
“We will make the same offer we made to Snap to any of the parties, late as it may be now.”
He also said that MCLM had met with several non-BN parties for a roundtable discussion, in the hopes of pursuing an alliance.
Some of the parties who attended were DAP, Jeffrey Kitingan’s United Borneo Alliance, Indian Justice Party, Human Rights Party, and SAPP.
‘Number 2 enemy’
MCLM is the second citizen movement to sever ties with Snap.
Yesterday, Sarawak-based Movement for Change, Sarawak (MoCS) also similarly cut off all ties with Snap, labelling the party as being the ‘number two’ enemy for Sarawakians.
MoCS leader Francis Paul Siah claimed that Snap had deviated from its original intention to work together within the Pakatan Rakyat coalition.
“Snap has deviated from its original intention of working together with PKR, DAP, PAS and MoCS.
“For this reason, MoCS will field candidates and fight Snap in Marudi, Bukit Saban, Krian and Machan.
“We will work together with DAP, PKR and PAS to wrest these areas, ” Siah said.
The movement also asked Pakatan Rakyat to ditch Snap as the party was working against the interests of the opposition coalition.
Snap however has denied having a “secret” arrangement with BN or Umno.
Describing the accusation as a “fabrication of the worst order”, Snap secretary-general Stanley Jugol said there was “never” any meeting between Snap leaders and Umno information chief Ahmad Maslan. - FMT